Case Comment

British Celanese Ltd. v. Courtaulds

citation(s): (1935), 52 R.P.C. 171 (per Lord Tomlin)

copyright 2006 Donald M. Cameron




The Decision

At p. 193:

It is accepted as sound law that a mere placing side by side of old integers so that each performs its own proper function independently of any of the others is not a patentable combination, but that where the old integers when placed together have some working inter-relation producing a new or improved result then there is patentable subject-matter in the idea of the working inter-relation brought about by the collocation of the integers.

At p. 196

The area of the territory in which in cases of this kind an expert witness may legitimately move is not doubtful. He is entitled to give evidence as to the state of the art at any given time. He is entitled to explain the meaning of any technical terms used n the art. He is entitled to say whether in his opinion that which is described in the specification on a given hypothesis as to its meaning is capable of being carried into effect by a skilled worker. He is entitled to say what at a given time to him as any given hypothesis as to its meaning would have taught or suggested to him. He is entitled to say whether in his opinion a particular operation in connection with the art could be carried out and generally to give any explanation required as to facts of a scientific kind.

He is not entitled to say nor is Counsel entitled to ask him what the Specification means, nor does the question become any more admissible if it takes the form of asking him what it means to him as an engineer or as a chemist. Nor is he entitled to say whether any given step or alteration is obvious, that being a question for the Court.

Return to:

Cameron's IT Law: Home Page; Index

Cameron's Canadian Patent & Trade Secrets Law: Home Page; Index

JurisDiction Home Page