Case Law Review – 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.


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.

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