In this opposition appeal, the applicant appealed against the decision of the Examining Division refusing European patent application as contravening i.a. Articles 52(1) and 56 EPC.
In the appeal, the appellant requested that the decision under appeal be set aside and that a patent be granted on the basis of the claims of the main request (or on the basis of the auxiliary requests).
Claim 1 of the main request reads as follows:
"A method of enabling a user to query an electronic document base, the method comprising the steps of:
- allowing a user to enter query words;
- generating one or more additional keywords based on a profile of the user; and
- searching in an electronic document base for documents that match the combination of query words and additional keywords,
characterized by further comprising the steps of:
- generating a set of concept keywords based on the results of the search; and
- storing the set of concept keywords in a dynamic part of the profile of the user."
The main issue in this appeal is whether the characterizing portion is of technical nature and thus has a technical effect. In its preliminary opinion, the Board appeared to be skeptical.