Archive for December, 2012

Case:

T_1992/07

Claimed Subject Matter:

Filtering of market information, wherein the filtering was used to provide a real-time trading status update.

In particular, a processor-implemented method of filtering market data generated at a market place, for providing real-time trading status information, the method comprising:

    • providing (620) a plurality of listings (222), each listing associated with a corresponding market place and traded at the associated market place;
    • providing (640) a set of filter criteria (224) suitable for filtering market data to determine the trading status information;
    • receiving (650) market data for at least one listing of the plurality of listings associated with a specific market place;
    • filtering (660) the received market data in accordance with the set of filter criteria to determine in real-time, whether trading of the at least one listing has been suspended or resumed at the specific market place; and
    • providing (680), in real-time, the status information (226) indicating whether trading of the at least one listing has been suspended or resumed at the specific market place.

Comments:

In this case, the data, processing and modified output data were considered to be “non-technical”; in particular, they were deemed to relate to financial and/or administrative aspects. The problem was thus deemed to be how to implement these non-technical aspects and the solution was deemed to be trivial. Even though the claim had a step of “filtering”, this did not relate to any technical process.

Data are “filtered” according to criteria (neither the filtering operations nor the criteria are well-defined in the claims), and as a consequence of the processing the received market data is broadcasted, but with supplemental information. This processing cannot be deducted alone from the wording of the claims, but corresponds to the description, p 4, penultimate para.. As the result of the processing is the provision/broadcasting of modified market data, this processing is considered essentially non-technical.

The processing as claimed also has an essentially non-technical aim, namely to assess and disseminate information about the trading status at market places of a plurality of listings. Following T 641/00, the objective technical problem can be formulated as finding a technical implementation of a system that achieves the non technical purpose (task) of assessing and disseminating information about trading statuses of a plurality of listings at market places.

In the Board’s view, the invention carries out non-technical (financial/administrative) processing on non-technical (financial) data. Since, according to the established jurisprudence of the Boards of Appeal, these features cannot contribute to inventive step, the problem boils down to how to implement these aspects. As effectively established by the division, the implementation specified in the claim amounts to no more than the use of a conventional computer system, to receive, process and generate the desired data. This cannot involve an inventive step either.

The appellant argues that the step of filtering is technical because it is carried out by a processor. However, in the Board’s view this only establishes that the processor is a technical implementation, not that the filtering relates to any technical process. Similarly, the appellant discusses the technicality of a memory device and storing filter criteria. However, as the appellant admits these features are not claimed. The appellant also discusses the features of providing data, receiving data and providing real time status information. However, as with the filtering feature, this discussion attempts to establish an overall technical effect by virtue of the intrinsic technical nature of the implementation. As stated above, the only technical features of the solution are the use of a processor to receive, process and generate data. The prior art shows that these are conventional.

Case:

T_1577/07

Claimed Subject Matter:

Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs).

Differentiating features:

    • Clickable and activatable GUI items are linked to information available on a network, e.g. the World Wide Web.
    • A conflict between several users is solved by a specific rule (like a majority decision, a weighted majority decision or the result of a game, e.g. rock-paper-scissors play, see page 15, lines 11 to 33), instead of a first come first served rule like in the prior art.

Comments:

The rule was deemed to solve “a purely organisational problem, and not a technical one”. As such this distinguishing feature was found not to contribute to an inventive step and the claim was deemed obvious.

In particular, the recognition of the problem as such was found not to involve an inventive step and could not be put into the formulation of the problem without involving inadmissible hindsight.

The examining division did not contest that GUIs can in principle be technical, nor did it argue so. However, the second distinguishing feature is not technical. In principle, a technical solution to a non-technical problem can be inventive. But the solution to this organisational problem in claim 1 is merely described in terms of general functional means directly describing a (non-technical) problem, without any reference to more specific technical means. Hence the claimed generic solution did not contribute to an inventive step.