Patent decision

BL number
Concerning rights in
Hearing Officer
Mr H Jones
Decision date
23 May 2007
Person(s) or Company(s) involved
WesternGeco Limited
Provisions discussed
PA 1977 sections 1(2)(a), (c)
Excluded fields (allowed), Excluded fields (refused)
Related Decisions


The application relates to a method of processing seismic data or other geophysical data captured at irregular points over a multi-dimensional domain. The invention finds particular application in seismic imaging, which is described in the specification as the process of determining one or more parameters relating to the physical properties of the earth’s interior from seismic measurements at the earth’s surface. The application discloses a data processing technique aimed at improving the quality of the seismic image. The Hearing Officer considered the recent Court of Appeal judgment in Aerotel/Macrossan and decided that the actual contribution made by some of the claims fell solely within the meaning of a mathematical method and a program for a computer. He also reviewed the EPO Board of Appeal’s decision in Vicom and found that certain other of the claims extended beyond being a mathematical method per se. The application was referred back to the examiner for further processing.

Full decision O/135/07 PDF document114Kb