Patent decision

BL number
Concerning rights in
GB 0904563.4
Hearing Officer
Mr A Bartlett
Decision date
12 July 2011
Person(s) or Company(s) involved
Secretary of State for Defence
Provisions discussed
Patents Act 1977 section 14(5)(a) and (b)
Related Decisions


The application concerns a lens arrangement that is particularly suitable for use in a covert surveillance scenario where the subject under surveillance is observed through a pin hole in a wall. Conventional wisdom is that such a device (indeed any lens) requires a physical lens stop on the object side of the lens to limit the amount of light that passes through the lens on its way to being viewed. The inventor has challenged this conventional wisdom in realising that the physical lens stop can be dispensed with by optimising the components of the lens arrangement so as to create a “virtual aperture”.

The hearing officer found that the form of claim 1 was such that the lens arrangement it sought protection for was defined in terms of the purpose for which it was to be used, the process by which it was developed and the result achieved. The limitations these requirements imposed on the claim were not clear and thus the claim itself was found not to be allowable.

Full decision O/243/11 PDF document42Kb