T 1203/10 () of 14.9.2015

European Case Law Identifier: ECLI:EP:BA:2015:T120310.20150914
Date of decision: 14 September 2015
Case number: T 1203/10
Application number: 01975726.9
IPC class: G08B 13/00
Language of proceedings: EN
Distribution: D
Download and more information:
Decision text in EN (PDF, 277.276K)
Documentation of the appeal procedure can be found in the Register
Bibliographic information is available in: EN
Versions: Unpublished
Title of application: INTEGRATED SECURITY SYSTEM
Applicant name: Tyco Fire & Security GmbH
Opponent name: -
Board: 3.5.02
Headnote: -
Relevant legal provisions:
European Patent Convention Art 123(2)
European Patent Convention Art 56
Keywords: Amendments - allowable (yes)
Inventive step - after amendment (yes)
Catchwords:

-

Cited decisions:
-
Citing decisions:
-

Summary of Facts and Submissions

I. The applicant's appeal contests the examining division's decision to refuse European patent application number 01 975 726.9.

In the reasons for the decision the examining division held that the application did not meet the requirements of Article 56 EPC because claim 1 as filed by telefax on 12 March 2009 did not involve an inventive step in view of document D1: EP 0 724 235 A2.

II. With a letter dated 10 May 2010 setting out the grounds of appeal the appellant requested that the decision of the examining division be set aside and that a patent be granted on the basis of the claims [1 to 12] and description pages 2a, 3, 4 and 4a enclosed with that letter and the remaining documents as originally filed.

III. The appellant was summoned to attend oral proceedings to be held on 14 September 2015. In an annex to the summons the Board set out some observations on the appeal; noting some issues of clarity and added subject-matter (Articles 84, 123(2) EPC) and discussing the question of novelty and inventive step in the light of D1 and a further prior art document D4: US 6 069 655, which had been mentioned in the application as filed.

IV. The appellant responded to the summons in a letter dated 10 August 2015.

V. Oral Proceedings were held on 14 September 2015 as scheduled. After a discussion of the case the appellant filed claims 1 to 10 and description pages 1a, 2 to 6 and 18 of a new main request and requested that the decision under appeal be set aside and that a patent be granted in the following version:

Description:

- Pages 1a, 2 to 6 and 18 received during the oral proceedings of 14 September 2015;

- Pages 1 and 7 to 17 as originally filed.

Claims:

- 1 to 10 received during the oral proceedings of 14 September 2015.

Drawings:

- Sheets 1/5 to 5/5 as originally filed.

VI. Independent claim 1 received during the oral proceedings of 14 September 2015 reads as follows:

"1. An integrated security system (10) for managing the security of a premises (12) comprising:

an access control system (22, A1, L2) for providing authorised access onto the premises (12), the access control system (22, A1, L2) providing a signal indicative of an unauthorised access;

a video security system comprising visual means (20, C) for visually monitoring the premises (12), the visual means (20, C) being interconnected with the processing means (14);

a burglar alarm system (16, 18, S1-S4) for determining whether an intrusion onto the premises has occurred, the burglar alarm system providing a signal indicative of an intrusion;

processing means (14, 34, 52) interconnected with the access control system (22, A1, L2), the burglar alarm system (16, 18, S1-S4) and the visual means (20, C) and comprising control means (14) for verifying an intrusion by intelligently looking at video signals provided by said visual means (20, C) to differentiate between human and non-human motion and detect an actual intrusion onto the premises (12);

the processing means (14, 34, 52) further comprising a common database (216) for storing information related to the operation and control of the burglar alarm system (16, 18, S1-S4), the access control system (22, A1, L2) and the video security system (20, C); and

the integrated security system (10) further comprising remote monitoring means (38);

characterized in that

the control means (14) is adapted to determine whether a signal indicative of an intrusion has been received from the burglar alarm system (16, 18, S1-S4), and once received to control operation of the visual means (20, C) to verify an intrusion and to provide a signal indicative of an actual intrusion onto the premises (12);

wherein said processing means (14, 34, 52) is further adapted, in response to the occurrence of the signal indicative of an actual intrusion onto the premises (12), to send a signal indicative of an intrusion onto the premises (12) via a first communications channel (36) to the remote monitoring means (38)."

Claims 2 to 10 are dependent on claim 1.

VII. The appellant argued in essence that the amendments to the application do not contravene Article 123(2) EPC and that the claims as amended are novel and inventive over the prior art, Articles 54 and 56 EPC.

Reasons for the Decision

1. Amendments, Article 123(2) EPC

The subject-matter of present claim 1 is directly and unambiguously derivable from claim 1 of the application as originally filed (see WO 02/21471 A1) taken in combination with, for example, the following disclosures in the application as filed:

- Page 1, lines 3 to 6 (terms "access control system", "burglar alarm system" and "video security system");

- Claim 9 (first communications channel);

- Claim 12 (features of the control means);

- Page 11, lines 24 to 26 (intelligently look at video ...");

- Page 15, line 19 to page 16, line 8 (differentiate between human and non-human motion; actual intrusion);

- Page 3, line 2 (remote monitoring) and

- Page 7, line 31 to page 8, line 1 (common database).

Hence, the amendments made to claim 1 do not offend Article 123(2) EPC.

2. Articles 54 and 56 EPC

2.1 Document D4 may be considered as representing the closest prior art. It discloses a security system which includes, in the terminology of the present application, a video security system, a burglar alarm system and an access control system located at a customer premises or facility F, as well as a remote monitoring station (central station) CS.

The video security system is formed by cameras 22 (i.e. visual means) connected to a site control unit (SCU) 12 (see figures 1 and 2 and column 9, lines 16 to 20).

The burglar alarm system is formed by window sensors S1, door sensors S2 and infra-red or microwave sensors S3 connected to an alarm unit (AU) 16 (see figures 1 and 2 and column 9, lines 1 to 10 and 20 to 22).

Connected to the site control unit is a control panel P including a keypad K into which a code can be entered to stop an alarm condition being reported to the central station (see figures 2 and 11 and column 9, lines 61 to 67). In the Board's view this may be considered to be a form of access control system (cf. page 12, lines 4 to 8 of the application).

The site control unit 12 and the alarm unit 16 communicate with the central station CS via a terminal adapter (TA) 20 (see column 6, lines 17 to 22 and column 8 lines 10 to 13.

Although shown separately in the drawings, the site control unit, alarm unit and terminal adapter may be combined into a single component (see column 9, lines 13 to 15). In such an arrangement some form of common database might be implied.

As explained at column 9, lines 24 to 35:

"The function of the SCU is to intelligently look at video acquired from each of the cameras to determine if an intruder is present within any of the scenes viewed by the cameras. If it is determined that this is so, the SCU sends an indication to AU 16. The function of the AV [AU] is to review the alarm indication and determine whether or not it should be reported to the central station. If the AU decides to do so, the AV [AU] senses [sends] an alarm through TA 20, to the central station. The AU further commands the SCU to transmit its video, also through TA 20, to the central station TA 20 using appropriate communication channels as described hereinafter, passes this information from the premise to the central station".

Processing of the video signals to differentiate between human and non-human motion is disclosed at column 8, lines 56 to 67.

Hence, document D4 is considered to disclose all of the features of the preamble of claim 1.

2.2 According to the features of the characterising portion of claim 1, the control means is adapted to determine whether a signal indicative of an intrusion has been received from the burglar alarm system, and once received to control operation of the visual means to verify an intrusion and to provide a signal indicative of an actual intrusion onto the premises. The processing means is further adapted, in response to the occurrence of the signal indicative of an actual intrusion onto the premises, to send a signal indicative of an intrusion onto the premises via a first communications channel to the remote monitoring means.

These features are not disclosed by document D4. Hence, the subject-matter of claim 1 is new, Article 54 EPC.

2.3 These novel features have the effect that when the burglar alarm system indicates that an intrusion has occurred, that fact is not reported to the remote monitoring system until after the control means, by intelligently looking at video signals provided by said visual means to differentiate between human and non-human motion, has verified that the burglar alarm system was triggered by an actual (i.e. human) intrusion. This can reduce the number of false alarms sent to the remote monitoring station (see page 15, line 19 to page 16, line 8 of the application as filed).

2.4 Document D1, which was relied on in the contested decision, does not disclose a system which can intelligently look at video signals to differentiate between human and non-human motion. Furthermore, it does not suggest any form of automated video-based verification of a burglar alarm signal before it is reported to a remote monitoring station. Hence, a combination of the disclosure of D1 with that of D4 would not lead to the subject-mater of present claim 1.

The same is the case for the other prior art documents cited in the international and supplementary European search reports.

The Board concludes that the subject-matter of claim 1 is not obvious in the light of the available prior art and therefore involves an inventive step in the sense of Article 56 EPC. The remaining claims are dependent on claim 1 and hence also involve an inventive step.

3. For the reasons set out above, the appellant's request can be granted.

4. For the sake of completeness, the Board notes that in present claim 1 the feature: "the visual means (20, C) being interconnected with the processing means" (which has no antecedent) is redundant in view of the later feature: "processing means (14, 34, 52) interconnected with ... and the visual means (20, C)". Hence the feature: "the visual means (20, C) being interconnected with the processing means" could be deleted.

Order

For these reasons it is decided that:

1. The decision under appeal is set aside.

2. The case is remitted to the department of first instance with the order to grant a patent in the following version:

Description:

- Pages 1a, 2 to 6 and 18 received during the oral proceedings of 14 September 2015;

- Pages 1 and 7 to 17 as originally filed.

Claims:

- 1 to 10 received during the oral proceedings of 14 September 2015.

Drawings:

- Sheets 1/5 to 5/5 as originally filed.

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