Patent decision

BL number
Concerning rights in
GB 0428269.5
Hearing Officer
Mr R C Kennell
Decision date
11 December 2006
Person(s) or Company(s) involved
John Lahiri Khan
Provisions discussed
PA 1977 sections 1(2) and 4(1)
Excluded fields (refused), Industrial application
Related Decisions


The application related to a system for effecting introductions, for the purpose of making friends or dating, by means of a device (especially a ring) which was distinctive in appearance so that it could be identifiable as being for the purpose of effecting introductions. Following the four-step approach to the assessment of patentability under section 1(2) approved by the Court of Appeal in Aerotel/Macrossan [2006] EWCA Civ 1371, the hearing officer considered that the contribution made by the invention was the use of a device for effecting introductions in a way which need not be limited to predetermined encounters but also embraced random encounters.

He held this contribution to be excluded under section 1(2) as being in substance a method for doing business in the light of Aerotel/Macrossan because of the need for some underlying system, rules or protocol to ensure that the device would be identified as being for the intended purpose; but that if he was wrong on that the invention was nevertheless still excluded as the presentation of information (but not as a method for performing a mental act). It was not accordingly necessary to consider whether the contribution was of a technical nature. The hearing officer did not consider that supplementing the device with, eg, a set of cards to help determine compatibility would take the invention outside the excluded areas.

The hearing officer also held that a method of effecting introductions for the purpose of making friends was not capable of industrial application under section 4(1).

Full decision O/356/06 PDF document33Kb