BL number
Concerning rights in
Patent Application GB1102439.5
Hearing Officer
Dr J E Porter
Decision date
12 October 2017
Person(s) or Company(s) involved
Avaya Inc
Provisions discussed
Patents Act 1977 section 1(2)
Excluded fields (refused)
Related Decisions


The invention is concerned with a method and system of monitoring work activities for bill completion. This could be used by anyone but is likely to be used by providers of professional services such as lawyers and accountants in order to get more information needed to complete a bill. The method uses a profile to determine a trusted relationship between the person that needs to be billed and a third party. It then finds the third party’s electronic address to request information about the person being billed and determines a subject identifier with certain actions. The information is used to generate part of a billing entry. The steps are undertaken by a virtual assistant module within a computer system.

The hearing officer followed the steps set out in Aerotel in order to determine whether the invention was excluded from patentability. He concluded that the contribution made by the invention lay in an improved way of generating a billing entry by identifying a trusted relationship and searching internal and then external sources to find an electronic address used to contact the communication device of the third party, in order to obtain information generate part of a bill.

He concluded that identifying a trusted third party, searching for their address to contact them to obtain information and generating part of a bill was a better way of conducting an administrative or organisational task, and was therefore a business method delivered through a computer program. He considered that the contribution did not solve a technical problem and that the AT&T/CVON signposts did not point towards the contribution being “technical in nature”. The application was refused.

Full decision O/512/17 PDF document98Kb
Content Reproduced verbatim from the Website of the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) as permitted under their Terms of Use.

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