Patent decision

BL number
Concerning rights in
Hearing Officer
Mr H Jones
Decision date
11 January 2022
Person(s) or Company(s) involved
Unanimous A.I. Inc
Provisions discussed
Section 1(2)(c), section 1(2)(d)
Excluded fields (allowed)
Related Decisions


The invention relates to a computer-based collaboration system which aims to harness the collective intelligence of a group of individuals to provide an answer to a question. Each individual uses a computing device to provide an input in response to the question. The computing devices are networked to a server which receives and processes the inputs from the individual computing devices and provides feedback to the computing devices. The devices also display a target board i.e. a range of possible inputs that the user may wish to select in order to provide their answer to the question. In the described embodiment this takes the form of the letters of the alphabet, spatially arranged on the display, by which the user can spell out their answer. Each user makes an input to their respective computing device, such as swiping a touchscreen, or tilting the device. The input is a vector input, i.e. it has both a magnitude and a direction. The display also shows a current pointer location. Each computing device repeatedly and in real-time sends a vector representation of the user input to a server. The server combines the received inputs from the plurality of users and from this information it calculates an updated pointer location, which it sends to all the computing devices. All the computing devices then move their pointer to the same updated position relative to the target board, which provides each user with feedback as to what the other users have been inputting. The users can react to the movement of the pointer by making further inputs in order to try to steer its trajectory, if they so wish, and the process continues repeatedly in a closed loop until the collective will of the group for the pointer’s location becomes clear and thus the answer to the question may be determined. The claim is directed towards the system which enables this process to occur.

In accordance with the approach for assessing patentability of inventions set out by the Court of Appeal in Aerotel, the Hearing Officer agreed that the contribution could be defined in terms of an input device and that it could therefore be regarded as technical. The application was remitted to the examiner for further processing.

Full decision O/018/22 PDF document178Kb