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Title

Approval/Disapproval of Functionally Expressed Claim(s)

Author 

KH

Post Date 

2010-05-14

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I. Appeal against Decision to Reject Patent Application
No. 2001-7004048

Patent Court’s Decision No. 2007HEO6980 published on Oct. 29, 2007
Supreme Court’s Decision No. 2007HU4694 published on May 15, 2008
- dismissed

1. Present patent invention (claim 8)

An article comprising a medium for storing instructions that cause a computer to project an image on a surface (hereinafter, referred to as ‘constituent 1’), and to detect user movements relative to a mouse image (hereinafter, referred to as ‘constituent 2’).

2. Patent Court’s decision (2007HEO6980)

(1) Interpretation of functional expression in claim(s)

Where the specific contents of the technical constitution of an invention cannot be understood since all or part of the indispensable constituents of the invention are described by using functional expressions to indicate the function or effect of the technical constitution, instead of expressions to indicate the technical constitution, the substantial contents of the technical constitution expressed by functional terms are to be determined by considering the description of the detailed explanation and drawings of the invention. However, since Article 42 (4) (ii) requires that the claims shall describe the invention clearly and concisely, the use of a functional expression in the claims is allowed only when the constitution of the invention is considered as being clear in its entirety even with the description using functional expressions.

(2) Contents of constituent 1

The claim describes only that a computer performs the function of projecting an image on the surface. The claim does not describe that the computer projects which image by which technical constitution. However, regarding constituent 1, the detailed explanation of the invention and drawings describe that, a projector (20) installed in a housing (12) of a computer (10) projects one or more input devices, such as a keyboard and mouse (34), onto a surface, such as a desktop, in front of the housing (12), and the projector (20) may be a laser projector, a liquid crystal display projector, or a light engine projector, such as a digital light processing light engine from the company called “A”, publicly known before the filing of the present application. Therefore, to put together the detailed explanation of the invention and drawings, constituent 1 can be clearly understood as the ‘constitution in that a computer includes the publicly known projector having the function of projecting the image of various input devices including at least a mouse’.

(3) Contents of constituent 2

The claim describes only that the computer includes a medium to store instructions having the function of detecting user movements relative to the mouse image. The claim does not describe which contents are included in the instructions. However, regarding constituent 2, the detailed explanation of the invention and drawings illustrate that, the computer detects the movements of the user’s hand relative to the mouse image, by using the conventional pattern recognition software which recognizes the shape and movements of the user’s hand, publicly known before the filing of the present application; and further, the conventional pattern recognition software includes the instructions to detect the user movements relative to the mouse image by the method of:
- recognizing a part of the user’s hands from an image scanning the part of the user’s hand relative to the mouse image by comparing the image scanning the part of the user’s hand and a previously recorded picture (i.e., previously recorded image of the user’s hand, and,
- when the image of the part of the user’s hand is recognized, by determining the movement direction and speed of the user’s hand by comparing a first frame and a subsequent frame of the image regarding the part of the user’s hand as recognized. Therefore, to put together the description of the detailed explanation of the invention and drawings, constituent 2 can be clearly understood as the constitution in that the computer includes a storage medium recording the publicly known pattern recognition software having the instructions to detect the user movements relative to the mouse image projected by the projector of constituent 1, using the aforementioned method.

(4) Eventually, the present invention described in claim 8 can be clearly understood as it relates to the invention of the computer apparatus comprising: the publicly known projector with the function of projecting the image of various input devices including at least the mouse onto the surface, such as a desktop; and the storage medium recording the publicly known pattern recognition software to detect the movement of the user’s hand relative to the mouse image projected by the projector.


II. Trial for Invalidation of Patent Registration No. 266366

Patent Court’s Decision No. 2006HEO4727 published on Jan. 25, 2007
- finally confirmed

1. Gist of the present patented invention (claim 1)
An apparatus for processing giro paper comprising:
a receipt unit for receiving the giro paper;
a transfer unit for transferring the received giro paper;
an integration unit for integrating the predetermined number of giro paper transferred from the transfer unit and for discharging the giro paper in a batch;
a classification unit for classifying a transfer path of the giro paper discharged by the integration unit;
a return unit for returning the giro paper classified by the classification unit; and
a storage unit for storing the giro paper classified by the classification unit.

2. Patent Court’s decision (2006HEO4727)

A claim(s) shall be supported by the detailed explanation of an invention, describe the invention clearly and concisely and describe only the matter(s) indispensable for the constitution of the invention. Therefore, in principle, a term which makes the constitution of the invention unclear is not allowed. Further, the so-called functional expression describing the function or effect of the invention is allowed only when the constitution of the invention is clear in its entirety even with the use of the functionally expressed description. In this case, the functional expression can be defined with respect to its substantial means and contents by referring to the specification and drawing(s) of the invention.

Regarding the present invention described in claim 1, the concrete technical constitution is not included in the claim, and only the order of the processes for processing the giro paper is described by functional expressions indicating the function or effect(s). Only, in view of the point that the processes of processing the giro are disclosed, the constitution thereof is clear. Thus, it is necessary to review which technical constitution is substantially meant by each of the process steps. Regarding the invention described in claim 1, its constituents are all described by functional expressions. The detailed explanation of the invention or the drawing(s) indicate only the constituents described in the dependent claims which specifically define each of the constituents described in claim 1 and it does not provide any description of the substantial constitutional contents of the invention described in claim 1 as the superordinate concepts to each constituents. Therefore, since the substantial constitution of the invention described in claim 1 is not supported by the detailed explanation of the invention, the registration of the patented invention shall be invalidated.


III. Trial for Invalidation of Patent Registration No. 239772

Patent Court’s Decision No. 2006HEO4734 published on Jan. 25, 2007
- finally confirmed

1. Gist of the present patented invention (claim 1)
A feeder of an apparatus for processing giro paper, the feeder comprising:
a transfer uni  

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