T 1784/06 (Classification method/COMPTEL)
The invention relates to a method for classifying records by means of a computer program product.
According to the applicant, the algorithm underlying the claimed classification method enables to classify data records more efficiently.
The applicant considered that the invention provided a more quickly working computer algorithm for modern telecommunications classification purposes and thus provided technical effects of reduced power consumption and enhanced processing power in a given hardware.
According to the EPO, if algorithm runs more quickly, the resulting saving in energy is a technical effect inherent to the normal interaction of software and hardware, i.e. it is not a "further" technical effect of the algorithmic program controlling the computer (see T 1173/97).
The BoA does not consider a technical problem to be an absolute requirement of the problem-solution approach. The Board agreed to the statement that a non-technical problem can have a technical solution (assuming that a problem properly formulated with respect to the closest prior art can ever be of a completely non-technical nature). On the other hand, where an intrinsically non-technical solution (mathematical algorithm) seeks to derive a technical character from the problem solved, the problem must be technical. Otherwise, the solution remains non-technical and does not enter into the examination for an inventive step.
Since claim 1 is not limited to any technical application of its classification method, then the algorithm of claim 1 does not contribute to the technical character of the classification method, it does not enter into the examination for inventive step.
Consequently, the appeal has been dismissed.
- The Comvik approach (T0641/00) is confirmed, non technical features are excluded from the inventive step assessment;
- There is an interrelationship of Article 52 EPC and Article 56 EPC.
(c) Thibault Bouvier - Novembre 2012