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. Reject the absurd

Date Published

Adopt a common-sense approach to construction

Where a claim is capable of more than one construction, then an absurd construction should be rejected in favour of an alternative construction (Henriksen v Tallon (1965) RPC 434).

EMI v Lissen 56 RPC 23 states:

"... if possible, a specification should be construed so as not to lead to a foolish result or one which the patentee could not have contemplated."

That is the task of construction is not to develop or create a desired narrative to fit a set of facts. Rather a common-sense approach is to be taken.     

During examination, no objection should be taken when there is an alternative meaning that is clearly absurd.

However, in some circumstances, the alternative is superficially absurd yet has an element of plausibility. In these situations, the examiner may raise an objection in the first instance. In such cases examiners should provide sufficient reasoning as to how such a construction is plausible and applicable in the current case.

Amended Reasons

Amended Reason Date Amended

Published for testing

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