Patent decision

BL number
Concerning rights in
Hearing Officer
Mr R C Kennell
Decision date
10 August 2007
Person(s) or Company(s) involved
Provisions discussed
PA 1977 section 1(2)
Excluded fields (allowed)
Related Decisions


In apparatus for electronic trading a spreadsheet application calculated a series of trading commands from incoming market data and stored them in a queue to be sent at predetermined intervals to an electronic trading system (ETS); since the commands might not be synchronised with market conditions by the time they were transmitted they were updated before transmission in response to the receipt of further market data. Applying the test in Aerotel/Macrossan [2006] EWCA Civ 1371, the hearing officer accepted the applicant’s argument that the contribution of the invention included an aspect related to the field of communication handling (which the applicant had derived by stripping the trading aspects from the claims and reducing them to the underlying supposedly technical features), but thought that it could not be divorced from trading. He accepted that these underlying features solved a physical problem caused by the limitations of the computer at the ETS end of the transmission so that the contribution did not relate solely to either a business (trading) system or method or a computer program, even though the invention was dependent on programming to update the commands. The contribution having passed the third step of the Aerotel/Macrossan test, the hearing officer, applying the fourth step, held the contribution to be technical in nature because it overcame the physical limitations of the ETS computer. He accordingly held that the invention was not excluded under section 1(2).

Full decision O/226/07 PDF document49Kb