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EPO: Patent Applications for Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality – the Requirement of Sufficiency of Disclosure

The interaction of data and instructions is of fundamental importance in computer science. Not without reason, therefore, two decisions of the Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office have started at this interface: T 0677/17 and T 0161/18.

At the European Patent Office, a general trend seems to be emerging, such that in information technology fields, instead of the fundamental question of technical character of the invention, the disclosure requirement is increasingly becoming relevant for decisions.

In the decision T 0677/17, the technical field of the underlying patent application was image data processing in the course of augmented reality. This involves linking real image information with virtual image information.

The board criticized that the patent application does not contain sufficient explanations of the image processing method. The board argued that in particular the performed image data processing of the real space image information is left open, and also for the further claimed object recognition, no information is disclosed about the data processing to be performed on the information about the properties of the object to be recognized.

The lack of a detailed technical description of the interaction of algorithms to be executed with the data structures also led to the confirmation of the rejection of the patent application in T 0161/18, which concerned the transformation of a measured blood pressure curve using an artificial neural network whose weighting values are determined by learning algorithms.

In the decision T 0161/18, the board argued that with respect to the training of the artificial intelligence according to the invention, the application does not disclose which input data is suitable for training the artificial neural network according to the invention. Therefore, the board held that the claimed invention cannot be implemented by the skilled person and, as a result, the skilled person cannot carry out the invention.

In summary, for patent applications addressing modern information technology, whether artificial intelligence or augmented reality, it appears to be critical to meet the disclosure requirement. The drafted disclosure of the invention must focus on the interaction of individual program steps with the respective input and output data.

Therefore, when drafting patent applications and claims in the field of data processing information technology, patent attorneys should set forth for each individual disclosed program step how input data is processed by data processing steps to output data.

Our blog contributions shall provide an overview with regard to legal topics, legislation and case law and are supposed to provide some general information rather than constituting any specific advice. Please do not hesitate to contact Maiwald and in particular the authors of the particular contributions if have any questions on the addressed topics or on other legal issues.

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Dr Simon Lud


German Patent Attorney

European Patent Attorney