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. Words are Given Plain Meaning

Date Published

Plain Meaning 

The words in a specification are generally given their ‘plain meaning’.

This means examiners should generally assume that the words of a specification have their ordinary English meaning (Interlego AG v Toltoys Pty Ltd (1973) 130 CLR 461 at page 478).

The exception to this is where a word or expression has a special meaning in the technical field of the invention. In these instances, that specialised meaning should be adopted (Electric & Musical Industries Ltd v Lissen Ltd (1939) 56 RPC 23 at page 41). This is because the specification is intended to be read by a person skilled in the relevant art. See Patent Exploitation Ltd v Siemens Bros. 21 RPC 549:

"a specification like any other document should be construed by the Court according to the fair meaning of the language used after being informed by evidence of the nature of the subject-matter, the state of knowledge at the [priority] date of the patent, and the meaning of any scientific or technical terms that are in it."

Amended Reasons

Amended Reason Date Amended

Published for testing

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