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Date Published

Note: The information in this part only applies to:

  • standard patent applications with an examination request filed before 15 April 2013.  
  • innovation patents with an examination request filed before 15 April 2013.
  • innovation patents where the Commissioner decided before 15 April 2013 to examine the patent.

For all other standard patent applications/innovation patents, see Contravention of Laws of Nature - e.g. Perpetual Motion Machines.

In many countries there is a statutory prohibition of inventions which contravene well-known laws of nature, e.g. perpetual motion machines. However, under Australian law there is no such prohibition.

The fact that an invention is apparently contrary to the laws of nature is likely to be manifested in a lack of utility of the invention. However, lack of utility is not a ground of objection available to examiners prior to acceptance.

Other Grounds of Objection

The following objections may be relevant when an invention contravenes the laws of nature:

Full Description

Where an invention contravenes the laws of nature, or is absurd in view of current knowledge, an objection of lack of full description may be applicable.  Examiners may raise an objection that the specification does not fully describe the invention, since having regard to the known laws of nature, the invention is not capable of performing in the manner described.


The claims may contain terms which do not have a technical meaning and there are no plain English meanings associated with those words that would provide for a credible interpretation in view of current knowledge.  In this situation, it is prima facie reasonable to raise a clarity objection.  An example would be where the claims are directed to a new form of matter.

Manner of Manufacture

Inventions that contravene the laws of nature may also be claimed in a form that does not fulfil the requirements of a manner of manufacture.  An example is where a new law of electric induction is referenced in the claims, or if the claims are directed to mathematical equations for new forms of creating energy, or in fact the claims are claiming new forms of matter.  An application rejected on these grounds is Milton Edgar Anderson [2008] APO 19.

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