Thursday Thingies

The cat as patent star--It is rare that the IPKat and its ilk find themselves part of a patent appeal. For that reason, the IPKat thanks Kat friend Sam Adams of Müller-Boré & Partner for bringing to our attention
paragraph 18 of EPO Technical Board of Appeal 3.5.06, given on November 17, 2015, which reads as follows:
“The independent claims of the auxiliary request specify, in addition to those of the main request, that the user interacting with the virtual electronic pet moves a cursor back and forth over the display of the virtual pet and, in response to this movement and varying with it, receives as haptic sensation a periodic vibration. The claim further specifies that the virtual pet in question is meant to "be" a cat and the haptic feedback to evoke a "purring sensation".”
Apparently, the question of “to be or not to be” is not limited to Shakespeare. Kat readers who wish to find out more are invited to read the entire decision.

Berenika Depo Prize--An IP story of a somewhat different kind has reached the IPKat from Mr. Justyn Depo, whose daughter and IKat friend, Berenika Depo, passed away suddenly in 2010, as reported by the IPKat. The Berenika family together with the Nyatri Foundation in Poland decided to honor her memory by establishing the Berenika Depo prize for talented children at the Bon Children’s Home, located in Dolanji, India. The Bon Children's Home is described on its web site as follows:
"The Bön Children’s Home provides housing, food, clothing, medical care and education to approximately 300 Bön children, aged 4 – 19 years. The Bon Children’s Home has a staff of twelve to care for the children.The children study at the local school made available by the Indian government. The children receive cultural education in their native Bon culture and Tibetan language, and also study Hindi, English, and general education courses."
Mr. Depo reports that the two winners of the first Berenika Depo Prize are Mr. Nyima Tsering (first prize) and Miss Bhirikuti Sheesh (second prize). The IPKat congratulates the winners.
Thursday Thingies Thursday Thingies Reviewed by Neil Wilkof on Thursday, February 11, 2016 Rating: 5


  1. By the way it the decision at stake is T 339/13:

    It is interesting to note that the Board of Appeal finds it inventive to mimic the purring of a cat. I would have thought that it is notorious that cats purr, especially when being stroked.
    It is difficult to see what can be inventive in moving a cursor on a virtual cat and in response thereto receiving a gentle purr.
    What does the IPKat think about this?

  2. Anonymous @ 12:40,

    You are confusing an actuality with a (simulated) non-actuality. The claim (if written properly) will not read on an actual cat purring. The patent system has always made allowable alternative paths to results, even (and especially) when the results are natural ones.

    It is important to recognize first that a difference exists, and then recognize what that difference means.


  3. The first comment asks about inventiveness. The EPO decides this objectively, under the Problem and Solution Approach. This Decision is on appeal from the Exam Division, so the only prior art available to the Board is that supplied by the Division. If this were on appeal from the Opposition Division, there would be better prior art from which the Board could craft an argument that the stroking>purring idea was obvious.

    That said though, to me it seems quite cute, and not obvious, to equate mobile phone vibration with the "purring" of an on-screen cat.

  4. The purring cat app just got patented... What's next, the grunting dog when you look at it funny app? :)
    Kudos to the rep. that got that.

  5. dogg makes an excellent point. It is much more obvious that the vibration mode on my cellphone is like a growling dog. That it can signify a purring cat wasn't obvious to me at all.

  6. Sure that the problem-solution-approach exists when assessing inventive step.

    I however still fail to see what can be inventive in claiming the purring of a virtual cat when a cursor is moved back and forth on the virtual cat. The claim does certainly not read on an actual cat. If this would be the case, novelty would not even be given....

    I understand that US anon is happy with this, but it means sadly that the level of the USPTO has now be reached by the EPO.....

    Where has common sense disappeared to?

  7. "Obviously," the xkcd cartoon went over your head....

    There is more than a touch of irony that you are wondering 'where common sense" went, while it is you that stand there, eyes clenched tight, and not getting the point.

    The solution here for your problem of "I cannot see" is simple: open your eyes.

  8. Anonymous above,

    Having a machine - which is not a cat - replicate something that a cat does - is clearly a technical accomplishment.

    I think that a better "attack" would be to challenge the utility of such a technical accomplishment.

    Just noticed that the year of filing is 2001.
    Maybe that also played a role, even though the decision does not seem to mention it.

    It is a funny patent that will have many funny applications.
    Although I personally find that nothing can beat the fun of playing with a real cat

  10. Re: I think that a better "attack" would be to challenge the utility of such a technical accomplishment.

    I would dare to challenge this "better attack" by:

    Objection pursuant Art. 53(c)EPC: methods for treatment of human body or therapy ;-)

  11. Thought at 20.43,

    You are going to have to have the conclusive evidence of that utility in your filing.

    You do not get to claim a "feels like' type of utility.


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