Case Law Review – T 2464/09

Case:

T_2464/09

Claimed Subject Matter:

A system for automatically managing workflow, comprising:

    • a first computer arranged to receive an originating job request and job instructions from an authorized user, and to generate a job packet associated with-a digital file, wherein the digital file represents job input from the authorized user, and
    • a second computer for processing said job packet;

characterised in that the first computer is arranged to interpret said job instructions to provide in the job packet a job record that includes a set of computer-readable job processing requirements and the second computer is arranged to read and analyze the job processing requirements, to maintain respective scribe data for each of a plurality of scribes, the scribe data including a respective schedule data associated with each scribe and indicating when the respective scribe is to be available to work, and to automatically forward job step data to a remote computer associated with a selected scribe based on the corresponding schedule data.

Comments:

Underlying the system defined in claim 1 is a method of allocating work to workers.

A manager receives a job specification from a client and uses it to generate a “job packet” which he passes on to another manager. The second manager maintains data, including schedules, about “scribes” and forwards the job packet, or part of it, to particular scribes on the basis of their schedules. There is nothing technical in the underlying method.

It would have been obvious to the skilled person, seeking to automate that method, to use a network of computers. Once it had been decided to use such a network, it would have followed directly that the “job packet” would be associated with a digital file, that the data would be maintained on the second computer, which takes the role of the second manager, and that forwarding would be automatic.

The appellant has argued that account must be taken of the state of technology in 1998, without knowledge of the developments which have taken place since. The Board accepts that, but notes that the use of a network of computers in similar systems was known in 1998. D1 provides an example. The argument above relies only on the obviousness of using a network of computers, and not on any technical details beyond the abilities to store, process and communicate data.

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