The Patents Act 1977 (as amended)

Section 1: Patentable inventions


  1. (1) A patent may be granted only for an invention in respect of which the following conditions are satisfied, that is to say -
  • (a) the invention is new;

  • (b) it involves an inventive step;

  • (c) it is capable of industrial application;

  • (d) the grant of a patent for it is not excluded by subsections (2) and (3) or section 4Abelow;and references in this Act to a patentable invention shall be construed accordingly.

(2) It is hereby declared that the following (among other things) are not inventions for the purposes of this Act, that is to say, anything which consists of -

  • (a) a discovery, scientific theory or mathematical method;

  • (b) a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work or any other aesthetic creation whatsoever;

  • (c) a scheme, rule or method for performing a mental act, playing a game or doing business, or a program for a computer;

  • (d) the presentation of information; but the foregoing provision shall prevent anything from being treated as an invention for the purposes of this Act only to the extent that a patent or application for a patent relates to that thing as such.

(3) A patent shall not be granted for an invention the commercial exploitation of which would be contrary to public policy or morality.

(4) For the purposes of subsection (3) above exploitation shall not be regarded as contrary to public policy or morality only because it is prohibited by any law in force in the United Kingdom or any part of it.

(5) The Secretary of State may by order vary the provisions of subsection (2) above for the purpose of maintaining them in conformity with developments in science and technology; and no such order shall be made unless a draft of the order has been laid before, and approved by resolution of, each House of Parliament.