Section 4

Industrial application

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4.-(1) An invention shall be taken to be capable of industrial application if it can be made or used in any kind of industry, including agriculture.

Manual of Patent Practice
Amended by Schedule 2 of the Patents Act 2004, as commenced by the Patents Act 2004 (Commencement No. 4 and Transitional Provisions) Order 2007 SI 2007 No. 3396, from 13 December 2007. Provisions on medical inventions are now in new section 4A.

Patent Office guidelines on examination of medical inventions
In Blacklight Power Inc v The Comptroller-General of Patents [2008] EWHC 2763 (Pat), the question of what standard the comptroller should apply when examining industrial applicability was considered. At paragraph 34:

  • "It is not the law that any doubt, however small, on an issue of fact would force the Comptroller to allow the application to proceed to grant. Rather he should examine the material before him and attempt to come to a conclusion on the balance of probabilities. If he considers that there is a substantial doubt about an issue of fact which could lead to patentability at that stage, he should consider whether there is a reasonable prospect that matters will turn out differently if the matter is fully investigated at a trial. If so he should allow the application to proceed".
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