Case Law Review – T 700/07


T 0700/07

Claimed Subject Matter:

Global Electronic Trading System.

The claimed invention in this case comprised a computer network consisting of trader terminals, a central server, and a communications network, each with particular properties.


The board stated that, rather than decide whether the invention was a superior trading system to any previously known system, they were concerned with whether a technical realisation in terms of terminals and server was obvious.

In the reasoning it was submitted that there may be two ways in which a skilled person might arrive at a particular technical implementation of a non-technical system:

    • they might start from a specification of the non-technical system and seek a technical realisation; or
    • alternatively they might start from some prior art technical realisation of a similar technical system and modify it.

If either of those paths would have been obvious at the priority date, there would have been no inventive step.

The central server in the claim was argued by the appellant to provide a technical effect by reducing network traffic. However, the board disagreed. They submitted that the non-technical trading system required a central agent. This constraint would be given to the skilled person, for example as a “requirements specification”. It would then be obvious for the skilled person to implement the said central agent using a central server. Even if there was shown to be less communication between traders, this was seen as a property of a non-technical arrangement, rather than a technical property associated with a technical implementation.

Case Law Review – T 2171/08


T 2171/08

Claimed Subject Matter:

Redundancy-free multi-purpose data (UBS).

The invention relates to aspects in context with updating a data base that is jointly used by two or more different processing mechanisms on the basis of multi-dimensional data sets. A network component performing this task includes a master data base for storing master data including static data and a multi-dimensional generic data template having predefined data fields relating to elementary information determined by the data input requirements of the different processing mechanisms. An interface is provided for receiving accounting-related data sets from a plurality of individual sub-systems. Processing resources having access to the master data base generate for each accounting-related data set one or more associated multi-dimensional data sets by deriving elementary information included in the accounting-related data set and in static data associated with the accounting-related data set and by writing the derived elementary information in corresponding data fields of the data template. On the basis of the elementary information contained in the one or more multi-dimensional data sets an elementary data base that is jointly used by the different processing mechanisms to generate report data sets is updated.


In this case the board appeared to acknowledge that a network component for transforming accounting-related data sets may be adapted to process static data in such a way as to provide a technical effect of reducing network traffic.

However, the appeal was dismissed on the grounds that the invention was not sufficiently disclosed to allow the skilled person to implement the static data in a manner that allowed for the effect.

Hence, it is recommended to set out clearly the technical implementation behind any technical effects that may be relied upon.

Case Law Review – T 531/09


T 531/09

Claimed Subject Matter:

Checkpoint Simulation.

The invention concerns the simulation of a security checkpoint. It could be the sort of familiar security checkpoint used at airports, but is not limited to that. The simulation is carried out by computer.

Tasks at the checkpoint are modelled as probabilistic events, each taking a certain time to perform, which may depend on what happens in preceding tasks. Two of the tasks simulated involve technical equipment, namely a walk-through metal detector and (possibly) an x-ray device.


The appellant referred to T 1227/05, which is discussed in the linked case law review. However, the board concluded that simulation of a checkpoint was not inherently technical.

Even though the probabilistic equations referred to technical devices (e.g. metal detectors and x-rays), these devices were modelled no differently from other non-technical tasks such as the queuing of people. Hence, their inclusion did not contribute to a technical character.

Case Law Review – T 1366/08


T 1366/08

Claimed Subject Matter:

Electronic signatures.

The scheme was found to differ from notorious common knowledge in commerce only by being adapted to modern technology in the form of electronic (e-) commerce and presenting a copy of a contract to a bank as evidence that payment is due.


Partial problems were considered. The first problem was deemed to be how to implement a business scheme on a computer network. It was found to be obvious as it simply involved applying well-known technical means as equivalents of a manual paper process. The second problem was found to be purely a business or legal question, and so features relating to its solution could not contribute to the technical character of the claim.