A feature relating to a presentation of information defined solely by the content of the information does not have a technical character. This applies whether the feature is claimed as a presentation of the information per se (e.g. by acoustical signals, spoken words, visual displays, books defined by their subject, gramophone records defined by the musical piece recorded, traffic signs defined by the warning thereon) or as relating to processes and apparatus for presenting information (e.g. features of indicators or recorders defined solely by the information indicated or recorded would not be technical features).
A feature which relates to the manner in which cognitive content is conveyed to the user on a screen normally does not contribute to a technical solution to a technical problem. An exception would be if the arrangement or manner of presentation can be shown to have a credible technical effect (T 1741/08, T 1143/06).
Examples in which such a technical feature may be present are: a telegraph apparatus or communication system using a particular code to represent the characters (e.g. pulse code modulation); a measuring instrument designed to produce a particular form of graph for representing the measured information; a gramophone record having a particular groove form to allow stereo recordings; a computer data structure (see T 1194/97) defined in terms which inherently comprise the technical features of the program which operates on said data structure (assuming the program itself, in the particular case, to be patentable); and a diapositive with a soundtrack arranged at the side of it.
When assessing the exclusion from patentability under Art. 52(2), the subject-matter of the claim has to be considered as a whole (G‑II, 2). For example, a claim directed to a product (e.g. a bleaching composition) and to instructions for use of the product, wherein the instructions have no technical effect on the product, is not excluded since the claim has a technical meaning and defines the technical features necessary for the definition of the claimed subject-matter, i.e. a product comprising a composition of matter (T 553/02).
When deciding if a feature relating to the presentation of information is technical or not, what has to be considered is whether or not it contributes to solving a technical problem. The fact that mental activities are involved does not on its own render the subject-matter non-technical (T 643/00). However, a feature that solely addresses a user's subjective preferences does not solve a technical problem (T 1567/05).
In the context of automated systems, in particular computers, giving visual indications of an automatically detected event occurring in the system itself as a prompt for human interaction with the system, e.g. to avoid technical malfunctions, is usually regarded as making a technical contribution. On the other hand, a visual indication aimed exclusively at the mental activities of the viewer, in particular at preparing the relevant data for a non-technical decision-making process by the user as the final addressee, is usually not regarded as making a technical contribution (T 756/06). Presenting the state of some non-technical application executed on a computer is normally not considered to be technical, either.