Publicly Available

Date Published

Information that is "publicly available" is information that the public has or can acquire by consulting a source open to it, i.e. material that can be inspected "as of right" by the public. It is sufficient that the information is available to a single person, provided that person is able to use the information freely without an obligation of confidence.


  • Gadd v Mayor of Manchester (1892) 9 RPC 516 at page 527;
  • Fomento v Mentmore (1956) RPC 87 at page 105; and
  • Monsanto (Brignac's) Application (1971) RPC 153 at page 159.

If a person seeks to find a document on the basis of certain information, and the document is not located, it is nevertheless still publicly available (see Nicator AB's Applications 7 IPR 504; [1986] APO 33).

A document is publicly available provided it is publicly available somewhere in the world. Thus, for patent specifications of other countries, examiners can take the publication date in the country of origin (as shown on the published specification) as the date of becoming publicly available.