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Note: The information in this part only applies to standard patent applications with an examination request filed before 15 April 2013.  For all other standard patent applications, see Common General Knowledge not Limited to Being in Australia.

The only common general knowledge that can be used in objections of lack of inventive step is the common general knowledge in Australia (in contrast to novelty, where there is no geographical limitation on the common general knowledge). Thus, where a publication printed overseas is relied on as indicative of the common general knowledge, examiners may also have to demonstrate that the publication was well known in the relevant art in Australia.

Likewise, what is admitted as common general knowledge in a specification prepared overseas may not be common general knowledge in Australia - see BHP Steel (JLA) Pty Ltd v Nippon Steel Corporation [1999] APO 69, in which it was held that an admission in an Australian application, with a Japanese applicant, that a Japanese patent document was well known prior art did not suffice to establish that the document was common general knowledge in Australia.

However, many arts are of an international nature and the common general knowledge in Australia is the same as that in other countries. For example, it has been recognised that genetic engineering (Genentech Inc's (Human Growth Hormone) Patent [1989] RPC 613 at 671) and organic chemistry (Biochem Pharma Inc v Emory University [1999] APO 50) are international arts. In such cases, it is not necessary to establish that a matter is separately known in Australia. See also Dyno Noble Asia Pacific Ltd v Orica Australia Pty Ltd 47 IPR 257 at 304, which recognises the global distribution of information within the mining industry.

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