Patent decision

BL number
Concerning rights in
Hearing Officer
Dr L Cullen
Decision date
24 June 2013
Person(s) or Company(s) involved
WMS Gaming Inc
Provisions discussed
Sections 1(2) and 17(5)(b)
Excluded fields (refused)
Related Decisions


PCT application WO 2009/128847 entitled “Apparatus for playing wagering games” entered the UK national phase as patent application GB1018115.4. This invention allows a player to play a wagering game at a machine in the casino using funds in a remote account. Specifically, it allows one or more players to use syndicate funds or, alternatively, it gives a person remote from the player, the opportunity to allow the player in the casino to play on their behalf.

The hearing officer, applying the test as outlined in Aerotel/Macrossan, found that the application as claimed related to excluded matter. The applicant argued that the alleged contribution made by the invention was the activation or putting into operation of a game machine in response to two electronic events. This was referred to by the applicant as ‘conditioning’ the system. However, the Hearing Officer found that the contribution was a way of allowing a player in a casino to play a wagering game using funds from a third party and that this ‘conditioning’ was making sure that there are funds available for the user to play. This contribution was found to lie in an excluded area - as a method of doing business and as a computer programme.

The examiner exercised discretion on behalf of the comptroller and issued a report under Section 17(5)(b) to say that a search of the amended claims on file would serve no useful purpose. The hearing officer considered this exercise of discretion adverse to the applicant and found that the examiner was entitled to take this action because the invention as claimed related to excluded matter.

Full decision O/260/13 PDF document132Kb