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European Intellectual Property Law

European Intellectual Property Law (2nd edn)

Justine Pila and Paul Torremans
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date: 27 May 2024

p. 1396. Patentable Subject Matterlocked

p. 1396. Patentable Subject Matterlocked

  • Justine PilaJustine PilaFellow and Senior Law Tutor of St Catherine's College, Oxford; Research Fellow of the Institute of European and Comparative Law, Faculty of Law, University of Oxford
  •  and Paul L.C. TorremansPaul L.C. TorremansProfessor of Intellectual Property Law, University of Nottingham


This chapter considers the subject matter for which European patents may validly be granted under the European Patent Convention (EPC), and the substantive European (EPC and EU) legal principles governing their identification and conception. To this end it discusses the two-fold role of the requirement for an invention in European patent law: first, as a means of filtering protectable from non-protectable subject matter; and second, as a means of denoting the object of patent protection, i.e. that which must be new, inventive, susceptible of industrial application, and clearly and sufficiently defined and described in the patent specification, and that with reference to which the scope of the patent monopoly is defined under Article 69 EPC. It also discusses the range of public policy-based exclusions from European patentability, and their relation to the requirement for an invention itself.

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