A Teaching Embedded in a Technical Apparatus Exhibits "Technicality" (Federal Court of Justice Xa ZR 4/07 )

The Codd Bottle On February 4, 2010, the Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof, BGH) ruled in a second-instance nullity action that it is sufficient for "technicality" (or a technical character) of a claim if the respective teaching is "embedded in a technical apparatus" (cf. Xa ZR 4/07, Glasflaschenanalysesystem ("glass bottle analysis system"), automatic translation see here). This decision has been issued by the Xa. (10th auxiliary) Civil Panel under Chief Judge Peter Maier-Beck which has also issued the much discussed decision Xa ZB 20/08 ("Dynamische Dokumentengenerierung") in favour of patentability of a software-related invention, namely a client-server system for dynamically generating structured documents such as XML or HTML documents (see earlier post). The patent in suit, European patent EP 643 297, relates to a system for analysing, monitoring, diagnosing and/or controlling a process for manufacturing packaging glass products. Independent claim 1 reads:
1. An analytical system (1) for analyzing, monitoring, diagnosing and/or controlling a process for manufacturing packaging glass products (4) said analytical system (1) being provided with an infrared-sensitive sensor system (24) and a digital processor (30) connected therewith, said infrared-sensitive sensor system (24) detecting infrared radiation emitted by warm products in the section directly after the glass-shaping process, and said digital processor (30) determining the energy distribution in the material of the shaped product and energy differences between different parts of the shaped product by means of information from the products obtained with said infrared-sensitive sensor system wherein said energy distribution and/ or energy differences are compared with criteria, obtained by means of a mathematical reference model, for determining deviations in glass distributions and causes leading to thermal stresses in the product ...
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