Friday, 19 September 2014

No Refund of DPMA Examination Fee

In the case X ZB 11/13, the applicant had requested the refund of the examination fee for an application which had been deemed to be withdrawn when the examination hand not been started.

The BGH discusses various possible claims for refund of the examination fees including the constitution and comes to the conclusion that no statutory basis for the refund exists. In contrast to the examination fees of EPO, the examination fees are considered to be fees for formally initiating the examination procedure and not linked to any actual service being carried out.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Patentability of Cinematographic Techniques in Multi-User Games

The decision T1259/08 relates to a rejected patent application based on the problem of network delays in multi-user games.

The idea was to mask the delay by creating a distracting effect that diverts the user from the parts of the application affected by a network delay. The effect is created using a "cinematographic technique" to manipulate an image displayed to the user, sounds supplied to the user, or tactile feedback to the user. The cinematographic technique may be, for example: zooming in or zooming out; a dummy object blocking the view; an "interlude"; or switching to another scene.

In the embodiment, when either machine detects an unacceptable network delay, it switches to a close-up (zoomed in) representation of the avatars showing their facial expressions but not the blows that are affected by the delay.

The board of appeal applies a broad interpretation of "cinematographic technique" such that the latter includes so-called time warping  known from the prior art. Whether or not the time warping technique diverts the user is considered irrelevant because this feature relates to human perception.

The board further notes that the solution would not have been inventive either:
The appellant stated that the technical problem was how to deal with network delay. The technical solution was to divert the user with the effect. However, since as discussed above, this solution is a matter of human perception, it follows that it would be non-technical. Furthermore, it also follows that it would be unpredictable whether such a subjective feature would actually solve the technical problem. In this respect, the invention is somewhat analogous to showing a video clip to somebody waiting for a lift to arrive, which is also using a cinematographic technique to deal with a delay. Thus, there would be no technical solution to the problem.

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