Patent decision

BL number
Concerning rights in
Hearing Officer
Mrs S E Chalmers
Decision date
20 November 2008
Person(s) or Company(s) involved
January Patents Limited
Provisions discussed
PA 1977 sections 1(1)(b); 1(2)(c)
Excluded fields (allowed), Inventive step
Related Decisions


The invention concerns an electronic point of sale (EPOS) apparatus for the purchase of mobile telephone credits for use in a retail environment. As the specification explains, the purchase of mobile telephone credits or “top ups” is normally processed by a specifically dedicated terminal unit. When a customer wishes to buy credit, the operator must move from their main point of sale terminal, operate the dedicated terminal unit to obtain the required amount of “top up” in the form of a voucher and then return to the main point of sale terminal to process the payment by the customer for the “top up”. This is time-consuming for both operator and customer. The invention provides a combined EPOS machine which includes a software control module, which is operable to provide mobile telephone credit and invoice the purchase of that credit, and the hardware to print not only the “top-up” voucher but also the receipt for the “top up” voucher together with any other retail purchases.

Applying the Aerotel test, the Hearing Officer considered that the contribution in the amended claims involved the combination of software and hardware and did not relate solely to a computer program nor a method for doing business. Applying the Windsurfing test (as modified by Pozzoli), she found the invention to be inventive. Allowing the application, she remitted it back to the examiner for further examination.

Full decision O/312/08 PDF document48Kb