Patent decision

BL number
Concerning rights in
GB 0218848.0
Hearing Officer
Mr R C Kennell
Decision date
13 February 2006
Person(s) or Company(s) involved
Raytheon Co
Provisions discussed
PA.1977 section 1(2)
Excluded fields (refused)
Related Decisions


The invention related to generating inventory data for an industrial or business facility and managing the configuration of the facility layout by creating a database of information defining the facility and layout therein of various items of equipment, and a database of information about the items of equipment themselves, so that items could be selected and displayed at a desired level of detail so as to reduce the processing burden. The proposed claims had two independent limitations which distinguished them from the cited prior art: (1) the provision of an overall interactive graphical map of the layout from which the user could select an equipment rack and display a visual representation synthesised from individual digital images of the equipment, and (2) displaying edited versions of digital photographs of the pieces of equipment which provided an accurate representation of their relative height and width.

Following the test in CFPH [2005] EWHC 1589 (Pat) and in line with the reasoning of the Court of Appeal in Fujitsu [1997] RPC 608 the hearing officer held that the invention related to a computer program (as explained in Oracle O/254/05) but made no finding on whether it also related to a mental act. The hearing officer distinguished Halliburton v Smith [2005] EWHC 1623 (Pat) and the EPO decisions T0435/91 (IBM) and T208/84 (VICOM) and also held that the 'little man' test proposed in CFPH had no application if it would defeat the purpose of the invention.

Full decision O/047/06 PDF document45Kb