PCT GL Appendix Paragraphs 5.20[1] and 5.20[2]

Date Published

The practice outlined in Paragraph A5.20[1] stipulates that the special meaning within the description can be used to interpret terms/phrases within the claim. This paragraph also emphasizes that importing gloss from the description to change the claim from the special meaning is not permitted. Where interpretation is required, for example, if there is no special meaning or the special meaning is non-limiting, then the description and the drawings and the ordinary meaning is used to interpret the claims.

The practice outlined in Paragraph A5.20[2] requires that the claims, where there is a special meaning for terms/phrases and that meaning is not found within the claims, be brought into alignment by amendment via inserting the special meaning into the claim. Furthermore, this practice does allow some non-literal interpretation of the claims in the sense that the interpretation of the claim should attempt to make technical sense of the claim, which, where required, may involve a departure from a strict literal sense.

The practice to be followed is found in A5.20[1] as this more closely aligns with national examination and the reports issued by the major ISAs, with the exception of the US which appears to follow PCT GL A5.20[2].