Swedish major Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson (Ericsson), one of the world’s largest wireless telecom-equipment provider, has been denied an Indian patent for an ‘invention’ that defines altitude determination method in a cellular communication system.
The ‘invention’ relates in general to geographical information distribution in a cellular communication system, and in particular to geographical altitude determination and distribution.
Rejecting the patent application, the Delhi patent office said that all those specifications described in the claims are just a set of sequences used to determine altitude and those sepcifications constitute just an algorithm without disclosing any constructional feature.
“Some are system claims, which also do not disclose any novel hardware, constructional or structural feature of the said claims but in turn represent an algorithm in sequential manner, attracting towards Section 3(k) of India Patent Act,1970,” Rajni Bala, assistant controller of patents & designs, Delhi said.
Section 3(k) provides for exclusion from patentability of a computer programme per se as well as algorithms.
Though the patent office had raised objections and offered a hearing to get clarifications on the objections, Ericsson’s patent agent neither attended the hearing nor sent out any communication.
However, according to a patent document filed by the company, an objective of the invention was to provide for a transfer of reasonably accurate altitude information between different nodes in a cellular communication system without occupying large communication resources.
The ‘invention’ was to provide for compressing the amount of altitude data into a limited number of parameters. It claimed that the invention was also to provide for such a data transfer between nodes of different types or provided by different manufacturers.
Ericsson submitted that one of the key points of the invention was to find a way of representing a three-dimensional surface by just a few parameters, in order to allow the information to easily be communicated over an interface between different nodes in a cellular communication network.
Such a communication will then require less bandwidth than if an entire altitude map has to be communicated. In such a context, it is important also that the format of a digital signal by which the data is communicated is compatible with standards of systems that are going to be used in the future, the company said.
According to the company, one typical application, where altitude determination becomes important is in the determination of position of a mobile unit. A slew of distances are determined by using time measurements for signals travelling to a mobile unit from a number of base stations.
Each distance corresponds to a circle around each base station and the mobile position can in-principle be determined as the common intersection of all circles. For a perfectly flat surface, distance measurements from at least three base stations are needed in order to secure a unique intersection, the patent document said.