Institute of Brand and Innovation Law


Patent Claim Interpretation

17 November 2010, 9:00 am–6:00 pm

Event Information

Open to



UCL Institute of Brand and Innovation Law (IBIL)



Prof. Dr. Peter Meier-Beck, Judge at the German Federal Court of Justice
Professor Dan Burk, Chancellor's Professor of Law, University of California, Irvine 
Dr Matt Fisher, UCL IBIL
Chaired by Professor Daniel Alexander QC, UCL and 8 New Square

About this event

This seminar examined some of the many issues that surround the interpretation of a patent's claims in Germany, the UK and US. Patents operate as a breakwater from competition, enabling control of the supply and use of a certain type of information; information that would otherwise be freely appropriable by all. They create scarcity where there would naturally be none, marking out a novel zone of virgin territory that may only be cultivated by the patentee or with their permission. Due to this effect their scope is of critical importance. In the UK, as in Germany and the US, the patent's claims are the key to its scope. They are utilised by the granting Office when considering issues of patentability and by the courts in matters of validity and infringement. Their breadth is important to the patentee as this defines the extent of their proprietary interest, and to their competitors for the very same reason.

This seminar brought together leading speakers from Germany, the UK and US to consider issues including:

  • Article 69 EPC and its Protocol; their form and function
  • The German approach to claim interpretation;
  • The Doctrine of Equivalents;
  • The US approach to claim construction; and
  • The current UK approach to construction.