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Patent decision

BL number
Concerning rights in
GB 0207020.9
Hearing Officer
Mr R C Kennell
Decision date
10 January 2007
Person(s) or Company(s) involved
Sony United Kingdom Limited
Provisions discussed
PA 1977 section 1(2)
Excluded fields (allowed)
Related Decisions


The application claimed a hierarchical data structure for communicating metadata describing the content of at least one shot of information material between a network of devices interconnected in a data communications network. Applying the test for patentability in Aerotel/Macrossan [2006] EWCA Civ 1371, the hearing officer held that the contribution made by the invention was the provision of a data structure comprising a particular hierarchical structure, and that, since it formed part of the instructions whereby a computer in the network was enabled to interrogate, retrieve and communicate metadata, it was excluded under section 1(2) as relating to a computer program as such. It was therefore unnecessary under Aerotel/Macrossan to consider whether the contribution was technical in nature, even if the data structure had the potential to bring about a technical effect. However, the hearing officer was prepared to allow an alternative set of claims relating to a data communications network incorporating the data structure.

Full decision O/010/07 PDF document36Kb