Following the recently issued decision by the Enlarged Board of Appeal in G1/19, the referring Board in T0489/14 have now issued their preliminary opinion and a summons to oral proceedings.  As we expected from what was set out in G/19, this preliminary is not positive for the applicant.

Picking up where they left off in the original decision, applying the Enlarged Board’s answers to the referral questions the Board expressed their view that the Enlarged Board’s answer to the second referral question “appears to give considerable guidance” for their assessment of inventive step of the patent application.  In particular, the Board in this preliminary opinion appear to focus on one of the takeaway messages from G1/19, that for the simulated data to provide a technical effect it must be limited to a technical purpose.  In this case, the main request which “reflects the behaviour of a crowd moving through an environment” was considered not to be limited specifically to such a technical purpose, and therefore lack an inventive step.  This opinion was also echoed by the Board for the first, second, third, and fifth requests.

Regarding the fourth request, in which the simulation is claimed as part of a design process, the Board noted the finding in G1/19 that this does not change the answer to the first and second referral questions, and as a design process is a cognitive activity this cannot provide an inventive step by its application on a computer.  The further limitation in the claims of the fourth request of producing “data representing a (revised) model of a building structure” was stated to have possible uses for non-technical purposes, and thereby unable to provide an inventive step.

This case is not over.  Oral proceedings have been set for later this year where the applicant will have the opportunity argue their position with the Board in person.  We will be sure to keep you updated on any further developments.

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GJE Review: Simulations

GJE’s computer technology team have put together a comprehensive collection of content designed to equip your business with insight into simulations and the role intellectual property has in its development.  To view the full collection, click here.