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Intellectual Property Law

Intellectual Property Law (1st edn)

Stavroula Karapapa and Luke McDonagh
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date: 22 March 2023

p. 40017. Patentabilitylocked

p. 40017. Patentabilitylocked

  • Stavroula KarapapaStavroula KarapapaProfessor of Intellectual Property and Information Law, University of Reading
  •  and Luke McDonaghLuke McDonaghSenior Lecturer in Law, City, University of London


This chapter addresses the criteria for patentability; in other words, the rules patent examiners and courts use to decide if a patent is valid or not. These criteria are also useful in the context of an infringement action, because a defendant may make a counter-claim to revoke the claimant's patent for invalidity on the basis of one of the criteria. The patentability of an invention is defined by Articles 52–57 of the European Patent Convention. The criteria comprise five core elements: three positive and two negative. In terms of the positive requirements, for an invention to be patentable, it must possess novelty; inventive step; sufficiency and support; and industrial applicability. Regarding the negative criteria, the invention must not consist of excluded subject matter, and it must not fall afoul of any of the exceptions to patentability.

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