Feeds

Philips loses right to amend TV menu patent

Too wide-ranging

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Philips has lost a case to amend a patent for its television menu technology. The electronics giant had attempted to change its existing patent, but the alterations were ruled to be too wide ranging.

Rival electronics company Pace Micro took the case against Philips to the Patent Office, where a Hearing Officer ruled largely against Philips. The company has six weeks in which to submit a new set of amendments.

The dispute arose when Pace Micro and Philips were negotiating over use of technology Philips had patented. Its system allowed a television viewer to see thumbnails of available channels and let the viewer select a channel from the mosaic of moving pictures on the screen.

"We found an invention of an earlier date," said Richard Clack, Legal Counsel for Pace Micro. "It wasn't our patent, but we thought it showed that Philips's was not novel."

Philips proposed amendments to its own patent, and Pace Micro objected to those. The dispute ended up before Hearing Officer R C Kennell of the Patent Office.

"Pace have argued that, because the wording of the proposed claim is broader than that of the description, it should not be allowed in a post-grant amendment," wrote Kennell in the judgment. "The patentees reject this argument as unsustainable."

"I find that the proposed amendments, whilst resulting in claims that are novel over the prior art, introduce matter in contravention of section 76(3). For that reason I refuse to allow the amendment in its present form," wrote Kennell.

Section 76(3) of the Patent Act says: "No amendment of the specification of a patent shall be allowed … if it (a) results in the specification disclosing additional matter, or (b) extends the protection conferred by the patent."

"The Patent Office effectively said that the amendments would introduce added matter not contained in the original patent, and that is not allowed," said Clack. "This is a good result for us."

Philips is now permitted to lodge alternative amendments which are not as broad in scope. "It seems to me that there may well be alternative amendments which would cure the lack of novelty in the independent claims whilst avoiding the addition of matter," wrote Kennell. "No ground of bad faith or covetousness having been made out, I am prepared to allow Philips an opportunity to submit fresh amendments."

Philips has six weeks in which to submit new changes to its patent. Clack said that Pace Micro would assess any new proposals and object to those if it felt they were not appropriate.

See: The ruling (12-page / 55KB PDF)

Copyright © 2006, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Online tat bazaar eBay coughs to YET ANOTHER outage
Web-based flea market struck dumb by size and scale of fail
Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes
Etailer plans to undercut rivals with low transaction fee offer
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.