Surgical and other exceptions to patentability

The title's not very cute, but at least when you see a publication called The Exclusion of Surgical, Therapeutic and Diagnostic Inventions from Patentability Under Article 52(4) of the European Patent Convention you know what you're getting.

Right: the IPKat scans the EPO website for fresh decisions on Art.52(4)

This is a report prepared for the Intellectual Property Institute (IPI) by Florian Leverve (co-author of Sweet & Maxwell's loose-leaf reference work European Patent Decisions and a researcher at the Queen Mary Intellectual Property Research Institute) together with IPKat team member Jeremy.

The report comprises 28 pages of A4, handsomely soft-bound in the IPI's distinctive blue-and-white colour scheme, and it costs £30, inclusive of postage and packaging. The ISBN is 978 1 874001 95 9. You can order the report from the IPI here.

Left: both being a little hard of hearing, Mr Smith and Woofles were unsure whether the lady said it was the pet or the vet that she wanted neutered

Florian and Jeremy are doing a double-act on this very subject in the afternoon of next Wednesday, 16 April, in an IPI seminar hosted by London-based solicitors Olswang. For seminar details click here. The event is free (unlike the report), but you have to email the IPI first so they know you're coming. And, says Merpel, so that they can keep you on their mailing list for ever and ever and ever ...
Surgical and other exceptions to patentability Surgical and other exceptions to patentability Reviewed by Jeremy on Wednesday, April 09, 2008 Rating: 5


  1. Surgical methods etc are "exceptions" from patentability, not "exclusions".

    Particularly given the discussion in Aerotel/Macrossan that exclusions are not the same as exceptions (exceptions should be viewed restrictively, exclusions not necessarily so) I'm surprised by the misnomer in the title.


  2. Unfortunately, I am told by the IPI administrator that in fact the cost of attendance is £50 for non-members.

  3. Dear Gerontius
    No need to be surprised -- just put it down to good old-fashioned inattention to detail. You (perhaps don't) want to see the ones I get away with?

  4. Dear anonymous 2
    I'm really embarrassed about this. The flier I received from the Institute mentioned no charges at all. I think that members and non-members receive different promotional materials.
    I'll see what I can do to avoid the risk of things like this happening again.

  5. Gerontius

    Could you please explain why you think that? Section 1(1)(d) of the Act requires that "the grant of a patent for it is not *excluded* by subsections (2) and (3) or section 4A below". As far as I can see there is nothing else to say whether it is an exclusion or an exception.

  6. To be honest, I'd forgotten that - but that's because there's no point remembering (most of) Section 1 of the Act when you know your EPC. Basically, it's another of those places where the UK draftspeople implemented the EPC into UK law in a way that is different (or at least potentially different) from the EPC itself.

    Section 130(7) of the UK Patents Act says:
    "it is hereby declared that the following provisions of this Act, that is to say, sections 1(1) to
    (4), 2 to 6" ...etc... "are so framed as to have, as nearly as practicable, the same effects in
    the United Kingdom as the corresponding provisions
    of the European Patent Convention" ... etc

    And Art 53 EPC calls the surgical etc activities exceptions, not exclusions and the UK Court of Appeal has decided there is a difference.

    Hope that clears things up.



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