Institute of Brand and Innovation Law


Exclusions from Patentability and Exceptions to Patentees’ Rights or Taking Exceptions Seriously

19 May 2011, 9:00 am–6:00 pm

Event Information

Open to



UCL Institute of Brand and Innovation Law (IBIL)




Lionel Bently (University of Cambridge)

About the lecture

Drawing on a research study prepared for WIPO’s Standing Committee on the Law of Patents, this talk will explore the relationship between exclusions from patentability (such as those in section 1(2) and 1(3) of the Patents Act 1977) and exceptions to patentees rights (such as those in section 60(5)). After a brief analysis of historical and international trends in both areas, the speaker will consider the degree to which these two legal devices (exclusions and exceptions), which are normally to be distinct and unrelated, in fact fulfil similar functions. To the extent that some exclusions and exceptions are found to be designed to fulfil similar functions, the speaker will ask what is at stake in the choice between the two legal mechanisms. While recognising there are arguments in favour of exclusions, Bently will suggest that there are good practical reasons for thinking that exceptions offer a more satisfactory way of giving effect to particular policy goals. The speaker therefore calls upon national governments, as well as regional and international norm-setters, to begin to take exceptions seriously.  

Accredited with 1 CPD hour (SRA / BSB / IPReg)