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2.11.3A Clear Enough and Complete Enough Disclosure

Date Published

Note: The information in this part only applies to:

  • standard patent applications with an examination request filed on or after 15 April 2013.
  • innovation patents with an examination request filed on or after 15 April 2013.
  • innovation patents where the Commissioner had not decided before 15 April 2013 to examine the patent.  

For all other standard patent applications/innovation patents, see 2.11.3 Full Description; Best Method.

Subsection 40(2)(a) requires that a complete specification must disclose the invention in a manner which is clear enough and complete enough for the invention to be performed by a person skilled in the relevant art.  

This provision reflects a fundamental principle of international patent law that, in exchange for the exclusive rights given to the patentee, the patentee must share with the public the information necessary to make and use the invention.

In order to comply with sec 40(2)(a), the complete specification must provide sufficient information to enable the skilled person to perform the invention over the whole width of the claims, without undue burden or the need for further invention. (The Explanatory Memorandum and Biogen Inc. v Medeva PLC [1997] RPC 1 at 48).  

The test for a clear enough and complete enough disclosure is as follows:

“The first step is to identify the invention and decide what it claims to enable the skilled person to do.  Then one can ask whether the specification enables them to do it.”

Kirin-Amgen Inc v Hoechst Marion Roussel [2004] UKHL 46; [2005] RPC 9 at [103]

Information on applying the test can be found at Principles for Examination.

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