The Bundespatentgericht had disregarded the icon in the assessment of inventive step and judged that it did not contribute to the solution of a technical problem.
The BGH did not agree. According to the headnote, features relating to the conveying of information in a patent claim need to be subject to a special treatment:
- Statements relating to the conveying of certain information contents and hence aim at having impact onto the human imagination or intellectual power are, as such, disregarded in the assessment of inventive step. Statements relating to information which shall be conveyed according to the technical teaching of the invention are apt to support the patentability in view of inventive step only insofar as they determine or at least influence the solution of a technical problem by technical means.
- Information-related features of a patent claim are to be examined as to whether the information to be conveyed is, at the same time, an embodiment of a means for a technical solution, which must not already be indicated as such elsewhere in the patent claim. In such a case, the means for the technical solution as to be considered in the assessment of inventive step.