Patent decision

BL number
Concerning rights in
Hearing Officer
Mr H Jones
Decision date
25 August 2017
Person(s) or Company(s) involved
Appa Music Group UG
Provisions discussed
Sections 1(1)(b), 1(2)(c), 14(5)(b) and 76
Added subject matter, Clarity, Excluded fields (refused), Inventive step
Related Decisions


The application relates to a system for providing multimedia content within an app and a rights management solution integrated therein. The system takes the form of an app for running on various electronic output devices such as a smartphone, a tablet computer, a television or a dedicated app album player. Music albums are downloaded within the app environment and can be played back on the output device. Music albums can contain not only music files but also related album cover information, picture and video files, lyrics, links to other relevant, and the app provides a user interface for viewing/interacting with this additional data. Music and video data that requires protecting from illegal distribution is downloaded to the output device in encrypted form and stored in an area of memory referred to as a “media safe”; unprotected data, such as social media content, metadata relating to the artist/album and links to external websites, is not encrypted and is stored in a separate area of memory or under a different directory structure. The output device transmits authentication data to a remote app album server and receives in return a decryption key that allows the protected data to be played back or viewed on the output device. The app allows music albums to be displayed as a “virtual CD rack” and allows the user to vary display settings such that albums are grouped together per artist or by a particular genre of music.

Minor issues of clarity and added matter were either resolved in favour of the applicant or by agreeing that amendments should be made to overcome. On the question of inventive step, the hearing officer identified the difference between the inventive concept and the state of the art as being the association of music files with various metadata, which he considered would have been obvious to the skilled person. The contribution was found to fall wholly in the excluded category of a computer program. The application was refused under section 18(3).

Full decision O/402/17 PDF document97Kb