Feeds

Inventor of revoked payment patent says UK system is a joke

It's not for the little guy

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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.

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
DOUBLE BONK: Testy fanbois catch Apple Pay picking pockets
Users wail as tapcash transactions are duplicated
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
In the next four weeks, 100 people will decide the future of the web
While America tucks into Thanksgiving turkey, the world will be taking over the net
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
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.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.