Sharp Kabushiki Kaisha (Appellant Applicant), Technical Board of Appeal 3.5.07, 18 July 2014, Case No. T 1214/09-3.5.07 "Information managing device/SHARP", by Stefan V. Steinbrener, Bardehle Pagenberg
Technical Board of Appeal 3.5.07 did not deny any contribution by the claimed arrangement to improved search and retrieval of stored images. However, in the Board’s judgment, the arrangement was not based on considerations other than those proper to the field of designing presentations of information for human viewing and hence was not an expression of any technical principle.
One of the more complex items on the non-exhaustive list of non-inventions set out in Article 52(2) EPC is the exclusion of presentations of information. Neither in the Convention nor in its preceding travaux préparatoires is any explanation given of what has to be understood by a “presentation of information”.
Nor is the existing case law of the Boards of Appeal consistent in this respect: while presentation of information is seen by some Boards (see e.g. decisions T 49/04-3.4.03 or T 1749/06-3.4.03) to only relate to the information contents, but not to its layout (only “what” is excluded, but not “how”), other Boards (see e.g. decisions T 1143/06-3.5.01 or T 1741/08-3.5.06) are much stricter and base their argument on whether or not the effect of data visualization, including both contents and layout, is only on the mind of the user, in particular by easing a mental evaluation or lowering a cognitive burden. In this case, a technical effect is denied, more or less irrespective of whether such evaluation step may occur in an otherwise technical environment.