Case Law Review – T 506/08


T 0506/08 [In German but Google translate does a reasonable job – use Chrome for translation “in the browser”.]

Claimed Subject Matter:

An online auction – in particular a method and apparatus for performing an electronic auction, in a communication network.


The underlying technical problem relates to the performance bottleneck of the communication network and the networked computer. This is not resolved with the new auction only evaded (side-stepped) administratively. The circumvention of a technical problem using a business process step does not provide a technical means (T 258/03-HITACHI).

The overall purpose of the technical implementation of the computer auction is automation and thus  faster and easier handling.  However, this is the usual purpose of any technical computer-based automation. It therefore justifies no patent exceptionalism in favour of a particular type of business methods (auction). The economically motivated desire to protect business methods against imitators is not a sufficient criterion for access to patent protection.

An implementation of an extension of the deadline may include technical aspects (timing, comparison) but requires no inventive contribution. This is implicitly acknowledged by the application, which leaves the details of implementation to the skilled reader. The technical aspects of the application are only implied and assumed to be expert knowledge; only the rules for the implementation of the intended auction are presented in detail and explicitly.

Overall, the claimed method solves no technical problem in a technically inventive manner. It therefore does not fulfil the requirements of inventive step.

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