Patent decision

BL number
Concerning rights in
Hearing Officer
Mr S Probert
Decision date
2 March 2006
Person(s) or Company(s) involved
Sun Microsystems, Inc
Provisions discussed
PA..1977 Section 1(2)(c). Article 52 EPC.
Excluded fields (allowed)
Related Decisions


According to the application, the conventional Java Bytecode instruction set has more than 220 instructions, and there is a significant amount of redundancy (or overlap) between some of these instructions. The invention provides a reduced set of Bytecode instructions that can nevertheless effectively represent the complete set of operations performed by the conventional Java Bytecode instruction set.

The Hearing Officer applied the two-stage test from CFPH, and concluded that the said advance was both new and inventive under the description an invention in the sense of Article 52 (EPC). He accepted that the second step of the two-stage test must involve a consideration of whether the advance involves a technical effect, not least because this is part of the test used by the Patents Court in a number of recent judgments.

Although he accepted that the invention would probably be implemented using a computer program, the Hearing Officer concluded that the invention was not about how that computer program would be structured or how it would be written, but with what the program would be required to do. The program was merely a tool, provided as the most convenient means of implementing the invention.

Full decision O/057/06 PDF document35Kb