Case Comment

Lister v.
Norton Brothers and Co.

citation(s): [1886] 3 R.P.C. 199

copyright 1997 Donald M. Cameron, Aird & Berlis




The Decision

At p. 203

"Before reading the specification, I will briefly mention some of the leading principles applicable to the construction of a specification, and bearing on the points argued. Its office is to describe particularly and to ascertain the nature of the invention and in what manner the same is to be performed. It ought to be construed, like any other legal document, as a whole. It certainly ought not to be construed malevolently, I will not say it ought to be construed benevolently, I do say it ought to be construed fairly. It must be read by a mind willing to understand, not by a mind desirous of misunderstanding. Inventors and those who assist them are seldom skilled adepts in the use of language; faults of expression may be got over where there is no substantial doubt as to the meaning. The persons to whom a specification is particularly addressed are those who are conversant with the business to which the invention relates. The specification is sufficient if a person of ordinary skill and intelligence in the business can understand the directions, and work upon them without experiments. The specification must define in reasonable terms the ambit of the invention, and thus give fair warning to the public what the invention is for which the monopoly is claimed."


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