2017年6月5日 星期一

工作與活動的組織並非技術方案 - 歐洲訴願案例T 477/08

歐洲訴願案T 477/08資訊:
請願人:SAP AG

案件編號:T 0477/08 - 3.5.01
歐洲專利申請號:05744947.2
歐洲專利公開號:1636750

系爭專利關於一種電腦實現的金融資料庫(Database for accounting purposes),提供企業作出金融方面聲明的資料庫,企業每年都需要公開企業獲利報表,這個資料庫就是提供這類資訊,包括企業公開的聲明書等。



請求項1:
1. A computer- implemented method for the creation of a database for accounting purposes, which can be used to prepare financial statements of an enterprise, comprising the following steps: 
saving of document data records from posting documents to a document database, wherein the document data records comprise a document header and a data part, wherein the data part comprises entries for at least two items each of which comprises a posting amount and an account assigned thereto; 
calculation of totals from one or more posting amounts of the document data records saved, for the accounts assigned thereto; 
saving of said totals to totals entries of a totals table; 
characterized in that 
prior to calculating the totals for the totals entries of the totals table, at least one item of the document data record is assigned proportionately to two or more organizational units of the enterprise, - wherein, from the at least one item, partial items are generated according to computer-implemented rules; 
in the partial items, the posting amount of the item is subdivided in proportionate partial amounts and each partial item, along with its partial amount, is assigned to one of the organizational units; 
at least one total is saved to each of the totals entries for each organizational unit to which one or more partial items are assigned; 
the totals for the organizational units are only calculated with posting amounts originating from items or partial items that are assigned to the particular organizational unit concerned.

本案在歐洲專利局審理時,被以缺乏進步性核駁,認為這個資料庫只不過是一般資料庫而已。本案進入訴願程序,申請人提出多個版本的申請專利範圍,但仍不予專利,理由如下:

--申請專利範圍界定的發明為電腦實現的規則(rules)。
--新穎性與進步性的判斷都是基於技術特徵,若請求項中缺乏技術特徵(僅是電腦實現的規則),將被認定沒有解決技術問題、沒有技術貢獻,如此也無須檢驗其進步性
--利用電腦系統的自動程序並未改變任何商業特點。
--若有直接連結解決技術問題的技術方案,申請專利範圍可被視為具有技術貢獻,但本案並未有此連結。
--即便其中通過中央化資料庫與自動程序有效節省電腦資源、減少資料量、避免冗餘內容,這些優點本身並非技術特點。
--申請專利範圍為典型的通過工作與商業活動的組織,能省錢、省能源、省人力、省自然資源的商業方案、規則與方法。
--記錄商業交易、列帳與預備金融聲明都是屬於商業領域,即便是通過電腦實現,非技術方案。
--提供企業的資料庫為一些資料表格、資訊重複利用、預備報告聲明等,但這些活動即便是自動的,仍非解決技術問題的技術方案。
--使用電腦實現的方法來控制資料取得的程序,這些技術為相關技術人員可以簡單從非技術的商業活動達成。
(訴願決定就一直重複以上意思)

結論:
缺乏超越電腦實現的技術貢獻,訴願委員會認為申請專利範圍所界定方法並不滿足新穎性與進步性規定。
"In absence of any technical contribution beyond the straightforward computer-implementation, the Board concludes that the method of claim 1 does not meet the requirement of inventive step as set out in Articles 52(1) EPC and 56 EPC 1973."

涉及歐洲專利法:EPC Art. 52(1)(新穎性)
(1) An invention shall be considered to be new if it does not form part of the state of the art. 


相關法條EPC Art. 56(進步性)
An invention shall be considered as involving an inventive step if, having regard to the state of the art, it is not obvious to a person skilled in the art. If the state of the art also includes documents within the meaning of Article 54, paragraph 3, these documents shall not be considered in deciding whether there has been an inventive step.

十分重要的觀念:
"即使自動化過程節省了計算機資源、減少數據量,透過中央化資料庫的方式可以節省儲存空間、避免冗餘的記錄和會計工作,但是這些"優點"本身並非技術特點,其中商業方案、規則與方法是通過較好商業活動的組織來節省經費、能源、人力與自然資源,其中記錄商業交易、列帳與預備金融聲明都是屬於商業領域,即便是通過電腦實現,非技術方案。"
"Even if the automated accounting process is effective in saving computer resources, reducing data volumes, hence storage requirements and computer workload, and avoiding redundant bookkeeping and accounting efforts by centralising the record keeping in one or few databases, such advantages per se do not confer technical character. Schemes, rules and methods of doing business are typically directed to saving money, energy, human and natural resources by a better organisation of the work and business activities. Recording financial transactions, listing them in a ledger and preparing financial statements for reporting purposes are methods belonging to the field of business even if they are organised in a particularly efficient manner adapted to be implemented on a computer system."

T 477/08案歐洲訴願決定:https://app.box.com/s/z3sdqm4m8lff104nbhv1oskufi3yup0d

Ron

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