13 March 2018 – EPO Case Law – case T 2328/13 – Selecting which steps are to be executed on different components of a mobile network is not just related to business policy decision

The decision of the Board of Appeal concerns a patent, claim 1 of which recites: a method executed within a base station for registering a wireless terminal with a home agent, comprising:

  • receiving … identifying indicia associated with a subscriber from the wireless terminal when the wireless terminal requests access to a network;
  • providing the identifying indicia to an authentication server;
  • receiving, at said base station, a profile associated with the subscriber, wherein there are a plurality of home agents to which registration information from the wireless terminal could be routed, wherein the plurality of home agents are associated with different mobile virtual network operators, wherein the profile identifies a plurality of home agents that are assigned to a mobile virtual network operator associated with the subscriber in a list, and wherein the profile is received from the authentication server; and
  • routing registration information from said wireless terminal to an identified home agent, wherein routing registration information comprises receiving a registration request at the base station, resolving at the base station which home agent to utilize during registration by selecting one of the identified plurality of home agents in the profile, and transmitting the registration request from the base station to the selected home agent.

The examining division had commented that “the question of whether the network operator accepts to have an entity outside his own network … is a business policy decision as this is not imposed by technical limitations”.

On the contrary, the board held that moving the selection of the home agent to the base station is not just related to a business policy decision, since in a mobile network there will clearly be technical consequences, for example concerned with hand-over from one base station to another which will impact on the various tunneling connections required.

see full decision