Patents for Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals, and Biotechnology: Fundamentals of Global Law, Practice, and Strategy

By Philip W. Grubb | Go to book overview

4
WHAT CAN BE PATENTED

Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.
Eccles., i. 10

The Requirements of the European Patent Convention 53
Novelty 54
Inventive Step 58
Industrial Application 61
Specific Exceptions 61
The Requirements of United States Law 63
Patentable Inventions 63
Novelty 63
Non-obviousness 64
Grace Periods 65
Special Categories of Inventions 66
Chemical Compounds 66
Pharmaceuticals (see Chapter 13) 67
Microbiological Inventions (see Chapter 13) 68
Computer-related Inventions (see Chapter 15) 68

In this chapter we shall consider what kinds of invention are patentable. The question of how an invention which basically is patentable can be protected by a valid patent, which meets conditions such as sufficiency of description, is dealt with in Chapters 10 and 17.


The Requirements of the European Patent Convention

There are three simple requirements for a patentable invention as set out in the European Patent Convention and in the laws of those countries which have acceded to it; as for example in the British Patents Act 1977. These are that the invention must be new; that it must involve an inventive step; and that it must be capable of industrial application. The same three requirements are met with in one form or another in the USA, Japan, and indeed in practically every country which has a patent system at all. There are in addition certain matters which are specifically excluded from patent protection both in the EPC and in the Patents Act 1977, and which are allowed by the provisions of TRIPs to remain excluded. These exclusions are not necessarily to be found

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