Patent decision

BL number
Concerning rights in
Hearing Officer
Mrs C L Davies
Decision date
16 December 2019
Person(s) or Company(s) involved
ION Geophysical Corporation
Provisions discussed
PA 1977 Section 1(2)(c)
Excluded fields (allowed)
Related Decisions


The invention relates to a networked system for sharing data between multiple installations, structures, vessels, or other resources (i.e., operators or entities) that may be operating in a marine environment, such as an oil and gas marine field. The data shared between the operators allows each operator to optimize its operations and complete tasks in a more efficient manner. The marine operation can include seismic operation, drilling operation, vessel operation (e.g., tanker, support vessel, chase vessel, fishing vessel), diving operation, anchoring operation, rig operation, maintenance operation, surveillance operation, etc. Each of these marine operations have various operational plans associated with them that call for a number of tasks to be performed and positions in the area to be traversed, closed off, travelled, etc. at different times. The operational plans can therefore involve task information related to the particular tasks to be conducted and can involve positioning and timing information related to the particular tasks in the area. The marine field may involve several operators performing different and dissimilar operations over time. Therefore, the operators (e.g., production vessel, marine structure, support vessel, seismic vessel, etc.) need to coordinate their operational plans, anticipate conflicts or issues, and defend against threats from obstacles, weather, and other conditions so all of the various marine operations can be efficiently completed in the marine field. The invention identifies linkages between dissimilar operations of the operators such that they coordinate their operations in order to be more efficient in how they work.

On applying the Aerotel/Macrossan test, the Hearing Officer found that the invention claimed was not excluded as a computer program as such and a business method as such. The application was remitted to the examiner for further processing.

Full decision O/774/19 PDF document317Kb