Patent decision

BL number
Concerning rights in
Hearing Officer
Mr H Jones
Decision date
24 April 2014
Person(s) or Company(s) involved
Research In Motion Limited
Provisions discussed
Section 1(2)(d)
Excluded fields (allowed)
Related Decisions


The application relates to virtual keyboards for smartphone-type devices, the keyboards having a single key which functions in either delete or backspace mode and a display associated with the key to indicate its mode of operation. It is known to combine the functions of certain keys on a keyboard in order to minimise the amount of space dedicated to keyboards and to maximise the display area available to present content. The present invention combines the delete and backspace functions into a single key and displays the direction of character deletion to the user as an indicia on the key. A further feature of the invention is concerned with changing the direction of the delete and backspace functions depending on the current language of the keyboard (e.g. from right to left in English and from left to right in Arabic), which is solved by allowing the function of the single key to change in accordance with the keyboard language. This latter feature was included in amended claims submitted shortly before the hearing.

The Hearing officer found that changing the keyboard display to give an indication of the direction of character deletion was excluded as a presentation of information, but found that the amended claim, which required the function of the delete/backspace key to change depending on the language of the keyboard, did not fall within any of the excluded categories of invention. Subject to the applicant submitting amended claims which clearly specify this latter feature, the application was remitted to the examiner for further substantive examination

Full decision O/179/14 PDF document75Kb