Welcome to the new version of the Patents Manual. Please note there are changes to the numbering and sequence of the chapters and pages in the manual. You are encouraged to take the time to explore and familiarise yourself with this new structure.

5.5.1 Purpose of construction

Date Published


Proper construction (that is, interpretation) of a specification is essential before determining substantive issues of:

  • patent eligible subject matter;

  • novelty;

  • inventive step; and

  • requirements relating to specifications (s40).

Construction is done to understand:

  • the invention that is described; and

  • the scope of the patent monopoly defined in the claims.​​​​​​​


The principles of construction are summarised in Eli Lilly and Company Limited v Apotex Pty Ltd (2013) FCA 214 at paragraph 139:

"It is well settled that the Court should, from the outset, approach the task of patent construction with a generous measure of common sense. The Court must place itself in the position of a person skilled in the relevant art, being the subject matter of the patent. From this perspective, the patent is to be read as a whole, in the context of the specification and in light of the prevailing common general knowledge and state of the relevant art at the priority date."

Amended Reasons

Amended Reason Date Amended

Published for testing

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