Recent EPO Appeal Board Decisions Relating to Computer Implemented Inventions

The EPO Boards of Appeal constantly issue decisions relating to Computer/Software-Implemented Inventions (CII), often involving communication concepts or mobile applications. I have selected four recent decisions for a brief discussion: Formatting text on a mobile device (not inventive): In T 1110/08 of 14 September 2010 Appeal Board no. 3.5.05 under Chairman AS Clelland reviewed the rejection of EP application 05 003 578 to Japanese Sharp Corporation due to lack of inventive step. This application relates to a portable device such as a mobile telephone having facilities for entering and formatting text. The user is provided with a facility to change format options of text by means of the mobile telephone. The applicant considered the claimed invention allowable basically for two reasons: formatting options are arranged in only two hierarchical menus, whereas prior art (e.g. an MS Word 97 users guide) requires a user to traverse at least three menu layers before reaching a desired menu, and the invention provides "a simple concept by which each of a first and second menu for decorating text can be invoked by depressing only a single button", whereas prior art requires simultaneously depressing two or more keys for opening a menu and selecting a formatting option. The Board, however, took the position that the number of menus does not imply any distinction over "Word 97", since the claimed formatting options do not exclude that they are embedded in a menu having more than two hierarchical layers, and the number of keys necessary to select an item depends on the state of a menu when selecting an item. Specifying a single key or button for selecting a formatting option cannot distinguish the claimed apparatus from a computer running "Word 97" ...Zum vollständigen Artikel

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