Patent decision

BL number
Concerning rights in
Hearing Officer
Mr R C Kennell
Decision date
23 March 2009
Person(s) or Company(s) involved
Sports Analysis Limited
Provisions discussed
PA 1977 Sections 1(1), 1(2)
Excluded fields (refused), Inventive step
Related Decisions


In order to take account of frequent changes in the pin position on a golf hole and provide an up-to-date course guide, the invention took a GPS reading of the pin location and generated a printed map of the hole with graduations showing the distance between the pin and a fixed point on the hole; the method (but not the system) main claim required the graduations to be overprinted on to a card already having a graphic representation of the hole.

Applying the Windsurfing/Pozzoli test for inventive step, the hearing officer held the system claim obvious to the skilled person (a golf course cartographer with knowledge that GPS could be used to map the position of any feature on a hole including the pin, albeit usually for on-course guidance to golfers by electronic means), but held the method claim to involve an inventive idea however simple the overprinting might be to implement. The hearing officer discounted the commercial success of the invention.

Nevertheless, applying the Aerotel test on excluded invention and treating the application as refused, the hearing officer considered that the contribution of any invention present related solely to the presentation of information. The contribution was neither technical in nature nor did it solve a technical problem - even if technical means including use of GPS were needed to put it into effect, these means were wholly conventional.

Full decision O/076/09 PDF document235Kb