Yet again, the Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office issued a decision highlighting the importance of the technical nature of an invention for patentability.
The invention concerns forecasting the value of a weather-based structured financial product. The values of these products are based on specific weather measures, such as temperature, precipitation, hours of sunshine, heating degree days, cooling degree days or wind speed.
The Examining Division considered that the invention had two aspects, namely a) defining and calculating a weather forecast and b) defining and calculating the influence of the weather forecast on a particular financial product. They could not find a technical problem solved by the implementation of either of these aspects.
The appellant argued that the technical steps of the invention involved calculating reference weather data based on physical measurements, processing data and establishing forecasted weather data, and providing a novel quality indicator that compared the forecasted to the reference weather data.
The Board agrees that a system for weather forecasting, for example, comprising sensors for measuring specific weather data, has technical character. The invention, however, relies on the use of already measured weather data.
The applicant’s second argument is essentially that an improvement in the weather data by calculating and further processing it is also technical. In the Board’s view this leads to the key issue in this case, namely whether improving the accuracy of given data of a weather forecast is technical.
The Board judges that it is not. The “weather” is not a technical system that the skilled person can improve, or even simulate with the purpose of trying to improve it.
It is a physical system that can be modelled in the sense of showing how it works. In the Board’s view, this kind of modelling is rather a discovery or a scientific theory, which are excluded under Article 52(2)(a) EPC.
This case shows once more the importance of ensuring that technicity of the invention is sufficient when drafting a patent application.