Monday 4 July 2011

BGH Webseitenanzeige X ZR 121/09 - Technicity

The German Federal Supreme Court (BGH) has now issued a new decision on an alleged computer implemented invention.

The patent was directed to a method including a "displayable representation" showing the sequence of web-pages visited by a registered user on an information site.

The fact that the claim did not explicitly mention that the method is implemented using servers, clients and other technical devices was not considered harmful by the BGH because it was considered self-evident ("offenkundig") for the skilled person that the execution of the claimed method required the use of computers in a network such that the method was of technical nature. This follows the line of argument started in the decision "dynamische Dokumentengenterierung", according to which "a method consisting of the direct interaction between elements of a data processing system – a server and a client for dynamically generating structured documents in the case under dispute – has technical character irrespective of whether it is defined by technical features or not."

The BGH stresses that the question whether or not the method is excluded from patentability as a computer program "as such" needs an independent analysis of the additional requirement that the claim comprises instructions serving the solution of a specific technical problem with technical means.

Finally, the method was considered a "computer program as such" despite of being technical. The reason is that the hurdle of headnote 2 of dynamische Dokumentengenterierung was not taken. The latter requires that the method/the computer program is either "determined by technical features outside the computer or that the program accounts for the technical restrictions of the computer".

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