Claimed Subject Matter:
A self-service checkout which solved the problem of the self-service checkout being overly sensitive (or conversely not sensitive enough) to people making mistakes (or conversely, trying to “cheat” the checkout).
The Appellant argued that keeping track of customers and tolerating different numbers of errors when using the checkout was itself technical, and that this would form part of the problem for the technically skilled person to solve.
However, the Board concluded that judging whether a customer is trust-worthy and treating them according to that judgement was a non-technical matter. Hence, an underlying idea of recording a level of trust forms part of a requirements specification that is given to the skilled person; the technically skilled person is faced with the task of modifying the self-service checkout terminals so as to keep track of how trusted different customers are, and so as to interrupt transactions earlier for those customers who are less trusted, and later for those that are more trusted.
The features of the claimed solution was thus deemed to either be found in the prior art, be non-technical and thus not contribute to an inventive step, or be technically obvious given the defined technical problem.
[With thanks to Jake Loftus for help finding and reviewing these cases.]