The European Patent Office granted a European software patent for a method for quickly and easily viewing two different video clips simultaneously. Here are the practical takeaways from the decision T 1648/13 (Video editing/CORE WIRELESS) of 12.11.2018 of Technical Board of Appeal 3.5.07:
This patent application is about video editing and concerns a method for a user to quickly and easily view two different video clips simultaneously, and in particular for selecting a particular video frame for use in clipping and/or combining two video clips e.g. by cross-fading or wiping. According to the patent application, the invention is particularly advantageous when used in devices with small screens. To match two video clips (“video streams” in the claims), the frames of one video clip are arranged along a vertical timeline and the frames of the other video clip along a horizontal timeline. Either video clip can be moved along its timeline by moving an input device to the left and right, for the video arranged horizontally, and up and down, for that arranged vertically.
Claim 1 (auxiliary request)A method comprising:
displaying a first video stream, the first video stream including a plurality of frames, and a second video stream, the second video stream being distinct from the first video stream and including a plurality of frames, such that one of the plurality of frames within the first video stream and one of the plurality of frames within the second video stream overlap at an overlapping image area, and such that at least one frame in the overlapping image area is at least partially transparent such that both frames are visible, wherein displaying comprises displaying frames of the first video stream along a horizontal axis and displaying frames of the second video stream along a vertical axis such that at least a portion of at least one additional frame outside of the overlapping image area from each stream is also displayed;
in response to user input, changing the frames displayed in the overlapping image area by moving the first video stream left/right and moving the second video stream up/down; and
selecting the frames displayed in the overlapping image area for creating a single video stream by transitioning between the first video stream and the second video stream.
Is it patentable?
According to the Board, the implementation of a graphical user interface (GUI) includes non-technical aspects of the GUI layout but also technical aspects regarding user-computer interaction. In the present case, displaying frames of video streams may provide a technical contribution, particularly in light of the features (c) “in response to user input, the frames displayed in the overlapping image area are changed by moving the first video stream left/right and the second video stream up/down”; and (d) “the frames displayed in the overlapping image area are selected for creating a single video stream by transitioning between the first and the second video streams”:
6.3 In the present case, amendments (c) and (d) introduced specific features of a user-interface for video editing in a computer which are technical features going beyond a non-technical method for presentation of information. Unlike claim 1 of the main request, the method of claim 1 of the first auxiliary request can no longer be seen as concerning mere presentation of information. The consideration of which features of the claimed invention make a technical contribution has hence to be reviewed.
6.4 In the Board’s opinion, the display of the frames of the video streams vertically and horizontally makes a technical contribution in combination with the other features of the claimed invention, since it influences the way the user interacts with the computer to perform a video-editing operation for combining two video streams by selecting a frame from each video stream.
In conclusion, the Board ruled that particularly features (c) and (d) have to be taken into account when it comes to the assessment of inventive step. Then, in light of the cited prior art documents, the Board further ruled that the subject-matter of claim 1 according to the auxiliary request involves an inventive step.
You can read the whole decision here: T 1648/13 (Video editing/CORE WIRELESS) of 12.11.2018