11 Nov 2019

T 2824/18 - Rule 137(5) and unity

Key points

  • In this appeal against a refusal, claim 1 as pending corresponds to claim 16 as originally filed. Claim 16 was not searched, claims 1-15 had been searched. The application was refused because the request did not meet the requirement of Rule 137(5) EPC according to the Examining Division.
  • The Board finds that claim 16 as filed has unity of invention with claims 4 and 5 as filed, which were searched. 
  • " Es ist nun für die Kammer nicht erkennbar, warum eine Getriebeeinrichtung, mit einer variablen Übersetzung (nach Anspruch 5), die gemäß Anspruch 16 mit einem Umlaufgetriebe realisiert werden soll, eine weitere Erfindung darstellen soll. Nach Ansicht der Kammer wird mit Anspruch 16 (wie ursprünglich eingereicht) lediglich eine besondere Ausführungsform einer Getriebeeinrichtung beansprucht." 
  • The Board does not comment on whether Rule 137(5) EPC is the relevant legal basis at all. To cite the Guidelines, H-II 7.2 "If the application is restricted to an unsearched but originally claimed invention, it can be refused under Rule 64 in line with G 2/92 [...] Rule 137(5) cannot be invoked. It does not apply when the applicant has not paid the search fee in respect of a non-unitary invention relating to the originally filed claims." (see also my article in epi Information 2018/2).



EPO T 2824/18 -  link



Sachverhalt und Anträge
I. Die Beschwerde richtet sich gegen die Entscheidung der Prüfungsabteilung des Europäischen Patentamts, die am 6. Juli 2018 zur Post gegeben wurde und mit der die europäische Patentanmeldung Nr. 11708194.3 aufgrund des Artikels 97 (2) EPÜ zurückgewiesen worden ist.
II. Die Prüfungsabteilung hat im Wesentlichen festgestellt, dass mit den Änderungen des Anspruchs 1 gemäß Hauptantrag und Hilfsantrag 1 auf einen nicht recherchierten Gegenstand gewechselt wurde, insbesondere dass die Merkmale des Anspruchs 16 wie ursprünglich eingereicht zu einer weiteren - nicht recherchierten -Erfindung gehören und die dem geltenden Anspruch 1 gemäß Hauptantrag und Hilfsantrag 1 hinzugefügten Merkmale zweifelsfrei der Erfindung des ursprünglichen Anspruchs 16 zuzuordnen sind, siehe Punkt 32 der Entscheidung. Daher waren die Anträge gemäß Regel 137 (5) EPÜ nicht zuzulassen.


Entscheidungsgründe
1. Die Prüfungsabteilung hat im Wesentlichen festgestellt, dass die Merkmale des geltenden Anspruchs 1 zur Erfindung des ursprünglichen Anspruchs 16 gehören und damit zu der weiteren, nicht recherchierten Erfindung (Punkt 32 der Entscheidung).

8 Nov 2019

T 0377/17 - Everybody has a secret recipe

Key points

  • The patent is directed to a composition comprising concrete, which can be used as construction material. The patent does not contain a detailed example; the question is whether the patent provides a sufficient disclosure.
  • The patentee argues that the skilled person who wants to reduce the claimed invention to practice would start from the recipe that is used in 'his' plant. 
  • The patentee submits, in rough translation, that each manufacturer of concrete has his own recipe, which is known to the respective skilled person. These recipes form know-how, which is not publicly available and should also not made public, accordingly the patentee had refrained from giving a specific recipe in the patent at issue.
  • The Board is not persuaded. "Ein solcher Ansatz steht jedoch nicht im Einklang mit der ständigen Rechtsprechung der Beschwerdekammern und insbesondere nicht mit den oben zitierten Entscheidungen, wonach die Offenbarung der Erfindung den Fachmann, allenfalls unter Zuhilfenahme des allgemeinen Fachwissens, in die Lage versetzen muss, die Erfindung nachzuarbeiten. Die Rezepturen der verschiedenen Porenbetonhersteller und insbesondere die Wirkstoffgehalte und Reaktivitäten der verwendeten Rohstoffe gehören jedoch gerade nicht zum allgemeinen Fachwissen, da, wie die Beschwerdeführerin vorträgt, diese Informationen nicht öffentlich zugänglich sind; sie sind vielmehr geheimes Knowhow der jeweiligen Unternehmen." 
  • I recall this scenario from another case (about biotechnology). Each manufacturer in the field at issue had his own well-guarded bacteria for making the compound X with a high yield, but none of them was publicly available.

EPO T 0377/17 -  link

II. Anspruch 1 in seiner erteilten Fassung (Hauptantrag im Beschwerdeverfahren) hat folgenden Wortlaut:
"1. Hydrothermal gehärtetes Porenbetonmaterial in Form von als geschnittene Formkörper vorliegenden Porenbetonsteinen, aufweisend ein Feststoffsteggerüst, das Mikroporen aufweist und aus einem Schaum resultierende oder durch einen Treibprozess erzeugte Poren umgibt, wobei das Feststoffsteggerüst aus Calziumsilikathydrat-Phasen ausgebildet ist, über 50 Masse-% 11 Å-Tobermorit aufweist und bis zu 10 Masse-% Restquarzkörner enthält, wobei das Porenbetonmaterial eine Steindruckfestigkeit von mindestens 2,5 N/mm**(2)und eine Wärmeleitfähigkeit von höchstens 0,09 W/mK aufweist und die Rohdichte zwischen 300 und 400 kg/m**(3) beträgt."

7 Nov 2019

T 2300/16 - Rule 137(5) case

Key points

  • The Examining Division had refused the application on the ground that the amended claims did not comply with Rule 137(5) EPC. The Board does not agree.
  • " According to [Rule 137(5) EPC], amended claims may not relate to unsearched subject-matter which does not combine with the originally claimed invention or group of inventions to form a single general inventive concept." The Board focuses on the "single general inventive concept" part of Rule 137(5) EPC.
  • The Board: "It follows from the above that the [added] "road selection feature" combines with the [...] "forecasting feature" [of the original claims] to form a single general inventive concept. In fact, rather than introducing a different general inventive concept, the amendment made aims at restricting the invention to a particular aspect of said general inventive concept, namely using the reliable forecasting for selecting a road to be followed which allows making a more efficient use of the automotive vehicle (e.g. by allowing an optimized fuel consumption) during a journey." 
  • "In view of the above and since the Examining Division has not given other grounds for the refusal apart from the non compliance with Rule 137(5) EPC, the contested decision must be set aside." 
  • The Board's decision seems entirely correct to me. 



EPO T 2300/16 -  link

Reasons for the Decision
1. Rule 137 was amended by decision of the Administrative Council of 25 March 2009 and the amended Rule applies to European patent applications for which the European search report or the supplementary European search report was drawn up on or after 1 April 2010 (see OJ EPO 2009, 299, in particular Article 1, point 7, and Article 2(2) of the decision). In the present case the International Search Report (which takes the place of the European search report, see Article 153(6) EPC) was drawn up on 24 February 2010, and therefore the amended Rule does not apply. It is thus the text of Rule 137 EPC in force before the above-mentioned decision of the Administrative Council that applies. Paragraph (4) of this Rule contains the same provisions of amended Rule 137(5) EPC, and therefore the correct legal basis for the Examining Division's refusal is Rule 137(4) EPC in force before the decision of the Administrative Council.

2. According to Rule 137(4) EPC, amended claims may not relate to unsearched subject-matter which does not combine with the originally claimed invention or group of inventions to form a single general inventive concept.

3. The Examining Division's objection is exclusively concerned with the feature added to the characterizing portion of claim 1, according to which a road to be followed is selected by onboard computation means based on the forecasting of the magnitude of the data associated to a given journey. According to the Examining Division, the originally claimed invention was concerned with providing reliable forecasting, whilst the added feature is concerned with selecting a road to be followed (see point 2.5 of the contested decision).

4. The Board does not agree with the Examining Division's conclusions for the following reasons.

It is clear from the wording of the claim that the added feature concerning the selection of a road to be followed is not to be taken in isolation from the forecasting of the magnitude of the data associated to a given journey, since the selection of the road is based thereupon. Therefore, the "road selection feature" combines with the "forecasting feature". The question is whether they combine to form a single general inventive concept.

Turning to the disclosure of the application as filed, it is apparent that the originally claimed invention relates to a method for forecasting the evolution of the magnitude of a data associated to a journey of an automotive vehicle via a mathematical model. The method of originally filed claim 1 foresees, inter alia, running the vehicle on a reference trip (feature b of claim 1) and adjusting a mathematical function based on measurements made during the reference trip (feature e of claim 1). Accordingly, the Examining Division is correct in stating that the originally claimed invention is concerned with "reliable forecasting", since the "adjusting" feature results in a reliable, or rather a more accurate, forecasting, see also page 2, lines 23 to 26 of the description of the application as filed.

The further question that arises is what is the purpose of said reliable forecasting. In accordance with the disclosure of the application as filed, the reliable forecasting serves to "efficiently use computerized systems in order to select the best running conditions for a vehicle" (page 2, lines 3 to 5). The "best running conditions" are, in particular, those that allow optimizing fuel consumption by forecasting the fuel consumption (see page 2, lines 26 to 28; see the examples 1 to 3): an accurate forecasting of the fuel consumption enables the onboard computation means to efficiently select a road to be followed and/or a gear to be used during a given journey (see page 2, lines 26 to 28).

Although in accordance with the disclosure of the application as filed the "forecasting feature" and the "best running conditions" are not exclusively related to fuel consumption (see page 9, lines 13 to 17: forecasting of engine load or pollutant emissions being other possibilities), and fuel consumption is not exclusively related to the selection of a road to be followed (see page 2, line 28 and page 9, lines 18 to 20: a gear to be used or a driving strategy can instead be selected for a given journey), it is apparent that the general inventive concept is to use the reliable forecasting in order to make a more efficient use of the automotive vehicle during a journey.

It follows from the above that the "road selection feature" combines with the "forecasting feature" to form a single general inventive concept.

In fact, rather than introducing a different general inventive concept, the amendment made aims at restricting the invention to a particular aspect of said general inventive concept, namely using the reliable forecasting for selecting a road to be followed which allows making a more efficient use of the automotive vehicle (e.g. by allowing an optimized fuel consumption) during a journey.

5. In view of the above and since the Examining Division has not given other grounds for the refusal apart from the non compliance with Rule 137(5) EPC, the contested decision must be set aside.

6. Since, however, novelty and inventive step (in particular) were not addressed in the decision under appeal, the board exercises its discretion under Article 111 (1) EPC to remit the case to the Examining Division for further prosecution.| |

Order
For these reasons it is decided that:
1. The decision under appeal is set aside.
2. The case is remitted to the Examining Division for further prosecution.

6 Nov 2019

T 1662/14 - Article 54(3) doc claims priority from CIP

Key points

  • This opposition appeal deals with priority and Art.54(3) in a situation that is suitable for as inspiration for EQE Paper D.
  • D2 is an Article 54(3) document if it's priority to D3 is valid. D3 is, however, a continuation in part from D11; D3 was also granted.
  • The question is if D2 is the 'first filing' or not. D11 is a non-published US application of the predecessor in title of the applicant of D2 and has the same technical content as the original application from which the opposed European patent is granted. D11 as said is also the parent of D3. 
  • " Hence, D11 has left some rights outstanding within the meaning of Article 87(4) EPC. This was not in dispute between the parties. It follows that D11 - not D3 - is the first application within the meaning Article 87(1) EPC in respect of the invention it discloses. As a consequence, D2 cannot validly claim priority from D3 for that invention." 
  • The Board  "the disclosure of D2 contains more specific elements in that respect. In other words, D2 discloses a system comprising additional technical features not disclosed in D11"  
  • " Hence, the priority claim of D2 is valid in respect of such a system [with additional features', for which D3 is the first application [and not D11]. That specific system belongs to the state of the art for the patent in suit according to Article 54(3) EPC." 
  • " The main request is not allowable for lack of novelty of the subject-matter of claim 1 over D2 (Article 52(1) EPC in conjunction with Article 54(1) and (3) EPC)." 
  • " Claim 1 of the fifth auxiliary request comprises an undisclosed disclaimer. The criteria to be fulfilled for an undisclosed disclaimer to be allowable under Article 123(2) EPC are set out in decision G 1/03 (point 2.1 of the Order), as confirmed in decision G 1/16 (Order). As far as the present case is concerned, such a disclaimer may be allowable to restore novelty by delimiting a claim against the state of the art under Article 54(3) EPC."
  • " The disclaimer of the fifth auxiliary request, however, does not restore novelty over D2. [...] Since the undisclosed disclaimer does not restore novelty over D2, it does not fulfil the criteria set out in G1/03. Hence, the fifth auxiliary request is not allowable either for non-compliance with Article 123(2) EPC." 
  • The Art.54(3) document D2 entered the EP phase as EP1519767 and became deemed withdraw in 2006 due to non-payment of the renewal fee. 
  • For the aficionados, the Board actually applies Article 54(3) EPC 1973, as the Board states that "D2 is an international application which entered the European phase with publication No. EP-A-1 519 767, designating all contracting states designated in the patent in suit." See also my explanation of  Article 54(3) EPC 1973 in the post about T2333/15.

EPO T 1662/14 -  link

4. The state of the art
4.1 The assessment of novelty hinges on the question of whether D2, or at least part of its subject-matter, is state of the art according to Article 54(3) EPC for the patent in suit.
4.2 D2 is an international application which entered the European phase with publication No. EP-A-1 519 767, designating all contracting states designated in the patent in suit.
D2 has a publication and a filing date both after the date of filing of the patent in suit. However, it claims priority from D3, a US application of the predecessor in title of the applicant of D2 with the same technical content as D2, which was filed before the date of filing of the patent in suit.

5 Nov 2019

T 1248/12 - Data privacy is not a technical problem

Key points
  • This examination appeal concerns a patent application for a computer-implemented "privacy-preserving data mining protocol". This involves collecting data from sources, e.g. patient records, and aggregating the data together, as well as removing individually identifiable information. For details, I must refer to the - somewhat unusual - claim 1 below ("the Board had doubts whether claim 1 defined the data processing performed by the various processors in a sufficiently clear manner").
  • Turning to inventive step, "it is established case law that non-technical features cannot contribute to inventive step. Therefore, non-technical features may legitimately be part of the problem to be solved (T 641/00 - Two identities/COMVIK), for example in the form of a requirement specification given to the skilled person to implement."  
  • According to the Board, "de-identifying data, by removing individually identifiable information, and by aggregating data from a plurality of sources, is not technical. It aims to protect data privacy, which is not a technical problem. The problem of data privacy is not synonymous with data security. Data privacy concerns what information to share and not to share (and making sure that only the information that is to be shared is shared), whereas data security is about how to prevent unauthorised access to information."
  • As a comment, a feature is indeed excluded under the Comvik approach if it "contributes only to the solution of a non-technical problem, e.g. a problem in a field excluded from patentability" (GL G-VII,5.4). However, I'm as of yet not convinced that features which are more elegant than "removing individually identifiable information" (e.g. adding carefully calibrated noise data) should be excluded for inventive step. 
  • As a further comment, the Board could have explained in more detail why data privacy is not a technical problem. The Board's observation that it is not synonymous with data security, is, of course, correct as such but does not fully exclude that it is a technical problem; clearly, data security is not the only technical problem. In the same way, the observation that "data privacy concerns what information to share and not to share" does not seem to provide fully conclusive reasoning, in particular, it seems to assume some rule or case law stating that considerations about sharing information are never technical (i.e. the major premise in the syllogism is stated at least not explicitly). 
EPO T 1248/12 -  link


VI. Claim 1 of the main request reads:
A Privacy Preserving Data-Mining Protocol, operating between a secure "aggregator" data processor and at least one of "source-entity" data processor, wherein the "aggregator" and the "source-entity" processors are interconnected via an electronic data-communications topology, and the protocol includes the steps of:
A) on the side of the "aggregator" processor:
(i) from a user interface--accepting a query against a plurality of the predetermined attributes and therewith forming a parameter list,
(ii) via the topology--transmitting the parameter list to each of the "source-entity" processors,
(iii) via the topology--receiving a respective file from each of the "source-entity" processors,
(iv) aggregating the plurality of files into a data-warehouse,
(iv[sic]) using the parameter list, extracting query relevant data from the data-warehouse,
(vi) agglomerating the extract, and
(vii) to a user interface--reporting the agglomerated extract; and
B) on the side of each processor of the at least one "source-entity" processors:
(i) accumulating data-items wherein some of the data-items have privacy sensitive micro-data,
(ii) organizing the data-items using the plurality of predetermined attributes,
(iii) via the topology--receiving a parameter list from the "aggregator" processor,
(iv) forming a file by "crunching together" the data-items according to the parameter list,
(v) filtering out portions of the file which characterize details particular to less than a predetermined quantity of micro-data-specific data-items, and
(vi) via the topology--transmitting the file to the "aggregator" processor.
IX. Claim 1 of the third auxiliary request adds to the second auxiliary request:
"which may include specific individuals' names or IDs" at the end of feature A)(i);
"including de-identified results" after the word "file" in feature A)(iii);
"wherein 'crunching together' includes de-identifying results by aggregating results to a tabular report" at the end of feature B)(iv).


3. Main request, inventive step
3.1 The examining division found that the data mining protocol in claim 1 was an administrative scheme, which, when considered on its own, constituted excluded subject-matter according to Article 52(2) and (3) EPC. The examining division could not identify any technical problem solved by the data mining. In the examining division's opinion, the aim of the data processing was rather to comply with legal requirements.
3.2 The Board shares the examining division's view that de-identifying data, by removing individually identifiable information, and by aggregating data from a plurality of sources, is not technical. It aims to protect data privacy, which is not a technical problem. The problem of data privacy is not synonymous with data security. Data privacy concerns what information to share and not to share (and making sure that only the information that is to be shared is shared), whereas data security is about how to prevent unauthorised access to information.
3.3 It is established case law that non-technical features cannot contribute to inventive step. Therefore, non-technical features may legitimately be part of the problem to be solved (T 641/00 - Two identities/COMVIK), for example in the form of a requirement specification given to the skilled person to implement.

4 Nov 2019

T 1082/13 - Tax calculation via a network

Key points

  • This examination appeal deals with a "computer-implemented method for applying tax legislation to a transaction". The method steps have nothing to do with tax legislation but are directed to sending a calculation request to an available server. Unavailable servers are skipped based on a 'timeout'. 
  • The Board: " the notional business person cannot be assumed to be so blind that he does not even know about the existence of computers or the Internet. The notional business person, as introduced in T 1463/11 [CardinalCommerce], is to be interpreted within the framework of the well established COMVIK-approach of T 641/00 (see T 1463/11, [] "... in line with the Comvik principle..."). Consequently, the notional business person knows all about the business-related requirements specification and knows about the fact that such business-related concepts can be implemented on a computer system (stand-alone or networked, including the Internet). What the notional business person does not know, however, is how exactly it can be implemented on a computer system. This is in the sphere of the technical expert and subject to the assessment of inventive step." (hyphens added)


EPO Headnote
1. The assessment of technical character of a claim does not require a reference to the prior art following the established "whole contents approach" (see reasons, point 1.1).
2. A "timeout" condition claimed in general and broad terms that cover non-technical interpretations is in the domain of the non-technical person and part of the requirements specification given to the technical expert for implementation on a computer system (see reasons, point 2.4).
3. The "notional business person", as introduced in T1463/11 [CardinalCommerce], is to be interpreted within the framework of the well established COMVIK-approach according to T0641/00. Consequently, the notional business person knows all about the business related requirements specification and knows about the fact that such business related concepts can be implemented on a computer system. The choice of where to do a calculation in a distributed system is not necessarily technical, but can also be driven by administrative considerations. What the notional business person does not know, however, is how exactly it can be implemented on a computer system. This is in the sphere of the technical expert and subject to the assessment of inventive step.
4. When referring to prejudices, it has to be carefully analysed, whether it is actually a technical prejudice or, in fact, a business prejudice (e.g. just a new way of organising a business transaction that goes against traditional ways of organising it - see reasons, point 4.8).


T 1082/13 -   link

"3. A computer implemented method for applying tax legislation to a transaction comprising:
- receiving a request (118; 318) for performing a tax calculation via a network, the request carrying a first mark-up language document (108) containing transaction data,
- performing the tax calculation,
- generating a response (144; 344'), the response carrying the first mark-up language document and a result of the tax calculation,
- forwarding the request to a replacement system (304', 336') via the network, if the means for performing the tax calculation and/or the means for generating the response are unavailable,
wherein the replacement system is determined by:
- submitting a predefined UDDI query to a UDDI registry (700) via the network;
- receiving a response to the UDDI query, the response comprising an indication of a plurality of potential replacement web services (702);
- calculating a ranking value for each web service of the plurality of potential replacement web services (704);
- sorting the plurality of potential replacement web services (706) by ranking value to provide a sorted table (660);
- storing the sorted table (708);
- determining the replacement system as the highest ranking web service in the sorted table (710),
- determining whether a response to the forwarding of the request to the replacement system is received before a timeout condition is met, wherein in case of meeting the timeout condition the highest ranking web service is deleted from the sorted table and said steps of
- determining the replacement system as the highest ranking webservice in the sorted table (710) and
- determining whether a response to the forwarding of the request to the replacement system is received before a timeout condition is met are repeatedly carried out."


Reasons for the Decision
4.7 During oral proceedings the appellant referred to decision T 1463/11 (CardinalCommerce) and argued that the present invention was comparable to the centralisation of individual authentication initiative plug-ins in a separate server that can be accessed by several merchant servers, which was held to be technical and non-obvious (see reasons, point 21). However, in T 1463/11 the alleged non-technical idea (centralising authentication services) only arose in connection with technical aspects (avoiding maintenance of software plug-ins in merchant computers). In the present case, as explained above, the idea of the timeout functionality comes from the business requirements that do not involve any technical knowledge.
4.8 The appellant also argued that a distributed computer system is a complete black-box for the non-technical person so that he would not be able to conceive of any aspects of the invention that would subsequently have to be implemented in the computer, such as a timeout. However, what has been referred to above as the quasi-technical term "timeout" really originates from the business person as the requirement of not waiting too long for a response. The technically skilled person translates this requirement into a "timeout" involving a timer element as a matter of routine design as mentioned above.
Moreover, the notional business person cannot be assumed to be so blind that he does not even know about the existence of computers or the Internet. The notional business person, as introduced in T 1463/11, is to be interpreted within the framework of the well established COMVIK-approach of T 641/00 (see T 1463/11, reasons of the decision, point 16 "... in line with the Comvik principle..."). Consequently, the notional business person knows all about the business related requirements specification and knows about the fact that such business related concepts can be implemented on a computer system (stand-alone or networked, including the Internet). What the notional business person does not know, however, is how exactly it can be implemented on a computer system. This is in the sphere of the technical expert and subject to the assessment of inventive step.
The choice of where to do a calculation in a distributed system is not necessarily technical, but can also be driven by administrative considerations (e.g. where the data is needed, collected or to be presented etc. following the business requirements specification). When referring to prejudices, it has to be carefully analysed, whether it is actually a technical prejudice or, in fact, a business prejudice (e.g. just a new way of organising a business transaction that goes against traditional ways of organising it etc.). In the present case and in view of the subject-matter according to claim 3, the Board does not see any such technical prejudice, which might have had to be overcome in a non-obvious way similar to what was decided in decision T 1463/11.
4.9 The appellant's arguments provided with the statement setting out the grounds of appeal, with letter dated 22 November 2018 and during oral proceedings do not convince for the aforementioned reasons.
4.10 Accordingly, the Board judges that in the absence of any technical contribution beyond the straight-forward computer-implementation, the subject-matter of claim 3 does not involve an inventive step (Article 56 EPC) over the teaching of D3 combined with the skilled person's common general knowledge.

1 Nov 2019

T 2049/12 - Functional data is not always technical

Key points
  • This is an examination appeal concerning a patent application directed to software. 
  • The Board: " A common misconception regarding the PHILPS decision [T 1194/97] is that there are only two kinds of data - cognitive and functional - and that functional (i.e. non-cognitive) data is always technical. The relevant question for assessing whether a data structure has technical character is rather whether it produces a technical effect. In the present case, the Board considers that there is no technical effect. Therefore, the claimed data structure does not provide an inventive step (Article 56 EPC)." 
  • " Furthermore, the activity of programming is also excluded under Article 52(2)(c) and (3) EPC, because it is a mental act []. The choice of program structure, including the choice of data structures, belongs to the activity of programming. Well structured code helps the programmer in performing this activity, because the code is easier to understand, maintain, and adjust, but, since programming is not technical, this is not a technical effect." 

T 2049/12 (Data structure for defining transformations / MICROSOFT) - link

Reasons for the Decision
5. Inventive step (Article 56 EPC)
5.1 In the oral proceedings, inventive step was discussed starting from the prior art described in the application, from paragraphs [001] to [004]. As mentioned above, it was known to provide multiple services in a sequence, and to transform data provided from one service to another. In the prior art, those transformations (i.e. from "latitude" to "lat" and from "longitude" to "long") were implemented using "specific dedicated code" for each of the transformation. The dedicated code was, of course, stored on some computer-readable medium.
5.2 The prior art and the invention achieve the same transformations. The difference lies in how those transformations are defined. In the prior art, they are defined in "dedicated code", whereas in the invention, they are defined in a data structure having service identification fields, a transformation class field and transformation parameter fields.