Patent decision

BL number
Concerning rights in
Hearing Officer
Mr A C Howard
Decision date
29 December 2006
Person(s) or Company(s) involved
Nintendo Co. Ltd.
Provisions discussed
PA1977 Section 1(2)
Excluded fields (refused)
Related Decisions


The application concerns a game machine involving a simulated race between vehicles or “karts” displayed on a track in a virtual space. When a kart overturns or spins, the computer takes over and shows an animated sequence of steps to place it back on the track facing in the same direction as it was travelling immediately beforehand. This is achieved through a recovery sequence comprising distinct phases during which the kart moves under the influence of different virtual forces. In prior art games the recovery was either not displayed in a seamless manner, or the kart was not re-established on the track in the same direction as it was travelling before the crash. It was decided that the contribution was concerned with how the player object transitions from one game state to another and is realised wholly within the game computer by means which are in practice computer program elements. This was considered to lie wholly within the excluded area of a computer program. An alternative objection that the contribution comprised a scheme method or rule for playing a game was not upheld on the grounds that what the player does (or is able to do or prevented from doing) is no different according to the invention than it is in the prior art.

Full decision O/377/06 PDF document58Kb