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T 1798/13 the “Weather” Is Not a Technical System That the Skilled Person Can Improve

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.

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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Authors

Dr Laura-Nadine Schuhmacher

Patent Attorney Trainee

Technical Expert

M.Sc. Molecular Biosciences

Dr Andrea Lasar

Partner

German Patent Attorney

European Patent Attorney

Biologist