Reject the Absurd

Date Published

Where a claim is capable of more than one construction, then an absurd construction should be rejected in favour of an alternative construction (Henriksen v Tallon (1965) RPC 434).

Lord Russell in EMI v Lissen 56 RPC 23 stated:

"if possible, a specification should be construed so as not to lead to a foolish result or one which the patentee could not have contemplated."

During examination, no objection should be taken when an alternative is clearly absurd. However, circumstances can arise where the alternative is superficially absurd yet has an element of plausibility. In these situations an objection should be raised in the first instance.