Feeds

Inventor of revoked payment patent says UK system is a joke

It's not for the little guy

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Payment solutions firm Ingenico challenged the patent's validity.

A Hearing Officer of the IPO threw out Ingenico's complaint about obviousness: "To people in the hospitality industry, using a combined authorise and pay system would not have occurred," he wrote. He also threw out an allegation that the patent lacked inventiveness.

But a third challenge succeeded, in which Ingenico argued that the process was not a patentable invention. The Patents Act excludes methods of doing business and computer programs as such.

A landmark ruling in 2006 in the cases of Aerotel and Macrossan changed the way the UK-IPO assesses whether inventions are patentable. A new four-step test was introduced for the assessment of patentability:

  1. Properly construe the claim;
  2. Identify the actual contribution;
  3. Ask whether it falls solely within the excluded matter;
  4. Check whether the contribution is actually technical in nature.

Step 3 caused the patent to fall. The patent can cut fraud and enable gratuities to be paid by card at the same time as the principal sum; but the Hearing Officer wrote: "while they may be advantages of the invention, they are not achieved by technical means... They are achieved by changing the business process – i.e. changing the sequence of steps – in which the terminals are used. The claim is to how a business uses a known system."

"The contribution falls squarely within the business method exclusion. It also falls within the computer program exclusion given its implementation by means of a computer program," he concluded.

Jeremy Nielsen told OUT-LAW that the entire experience with the patent has been an awful one. "Patents in the UK are a joke," he said. "We spent £100,000 trying to enforce this patent before we had to pull out because it was too expensive. We never managed to sell a licence – it was simply stolen."

"It's not a business method and I still believe in it," said Nielsen. "But I wouldn't recommend that anyone in the UK takes out a patent unless they're a huge company."

The patent rights were transferred to a company called Pendawell before the revocation claim was heard. Nielsen expects Pendawell to appeal the ruling. He said Pendawell also holds the US rights for his invention. The US patent has withstood a similar challenge, he said.

Pendawell declined to comment for this story. Ingenico did not respond to a request for comment.

See: The Hearing Officer's ruling (15 page/72KB PDF)

Copyright © 2007, OUT-LAW.com

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

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
Singapore decides 'three strikes' laws are too intrusive
When even a prurient island nation thinks an idea is dodgy it has problems
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.