Statutory requirements

Presentation of information

8.25 Any invention which is characterised solely by the content of the information is not an invention, even if a physical apparatus is involved in the presentation. In Townsend’s Application [2004] EWHC 482 (Pat), claims relating to an advent calendar with an additional indicium on each door were found not to be an invention. Laddie J held that the exclusion does not only apply to the expression of information but also to the provision of information.

8.26 The key consideration in such cases is whether the actual contribution is the presentation of the information as such.

a. For example, a gaming machine having product names rather than conventional symbols would represent mere presentation of information (Ebrahim Shahin’s Application BL O/149/95).

b. A claim defining the choice of how and where to present information would not be an invention since this still relates to the presentation of information (Autonomy Corp Ltd v. Comptroller General of Patents, Trade Marks & Designs [2008] EWHC 146 (Pat)).

c. A newspaper layout designed such that folding the paper did not hinder reading was found to be an invention (Cooper’s Application [1902] 19 RPC 53), as was a ticket on which information was presented in such a way that it was not lost when the ticket was torn (Fishburn’s Application [1940] 57 RPC 245).

d. An instructional speech course in which text was highlighted in a particular way to indicate stress and rhythm was not considered an invention (Dixon’s Application [1978] RPC 687).

e. A claim to a known product such as a pharmaceutical which is characterised by the instructions on the package will not generally be allowed, since the contribution lies solely in the presentation of information (see paragraph 8.179).

f. Claims to software that are characterised only by source code, and not by any technical features, is unlikely to be considered an invention on the basis that the actual contribution would be a mere presentation of information.