Patent decision

BL number
Concerning rights in
GB 0219156.7
Hearing Officer
Mr R C Kennell
Decision date
12 February 2007
Person(s) or Company(s) involved
Canon Kabushiki Kaisha
Provisions discussed
PA 1977 Section 1(2)
Excluded fields (refused)
Related Decisions


The invention was a refinement of probabilistic latent

semantic analysis (a technique allowing the probability of a term occurring within a document to be evaluated by means of latent or hidden factors that could be extracted from a set of documents and used to represent the content of the documents and the meaning of terms), which allowed the user to supply prior information in order to cluster and extract well-defined topics. The hearing officer, applying the four-step test in Aerotel/Macrossan [2006] EWHC Civ 1371, held that the invention related to a computer program as such and therefore failed the third step. He considered that the applicant’s arguments, submitted before Aerotel/Macrossan and intended to show that the invention made a technical contributuion and was therefore patentable, no longer carried any force. The hearing officer did not consider that the invention related to a mathematical method as such, and made no decision on whether it related to a mental act as such.

Full decision O/045/07 PDF document46Kb