April came with nine new decisions in the EUROPEAN SOFTWARE PATENTS knowledge base relating to cloud computing, distributed systems, business methods, graphical user interfaces and search engines:
Patentable cloud computing innovations
Improvements in cloud computing and distributed computing techniques are regularly considered technical by the European Patent Office. For example, the EPO granted a software patent for a server load balancing technique based on mathematical calculations, since they were found to improve the server's resource consumption.
A method of providing a unique identifier for identifying user groups without using a server was also found to be technical, although obvious in view of the prior art.
In another decision, assigning a fixed internet address to a terminal of a building management system which is securely attached to a building was found to provide a technical contribution, because the system was capable of determining that a user actually was in the building when a specific interaction with the terminal was conducted.
More challenging: business methods
One decision related to a method for efficiently checking the consistency and completeness of selection conditions for components of a configurable product. On the one hand, the Board held that the task performed by claim 1 was of a non-technical nature. However, the specific claimed bit (sub-)matrices, bit strings and steps of the method, especially those of splitting the bit matrix, forming bit strings representing the selection and restriction conditions and determining inconsistent pairs of selection conditions when performed by parallel processing, were indeed found to contribute to the technical character. The case was remitted back to the first instance for reexamination of inventive step.
The same applied to a method of programming a currency tester, which was also remitted back to the first instance for further prosecution.
GUI software patents
In the field of graphical user interfaces, a method for video editing, more precisely for quickly and easily viewing two different...