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Patent decision

BL number
O/010/07
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)
Keywords
Excluded fields (allowed)
Related Decisions
None

Summary

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