Abstract: Patent law is rife with apparently inexplicable outcomes that only make sense within hyper-contextualized domains. The scale and degree of such outcomes warrants a closer look at the text of patent law – in this paper, the text of patent Examination Guidelines. These guidelines - an intermediary product of legal, judicial and quasi-judicial decision-making - convert contested legal standards into acceptable claim language that are arguably the very nub of patent law. Using the examples of diagnostic methods, Swiss-type patent claims and industrial application of gene patents, I demonstrate how language is compacted and abstracted in a process that ‘textualises’ substantive meaning. Textualisation in patent law is a system of persuasion that does not rely on meaning to communicate and influence using instead rhetorical and linguistic modalities to frame and prevail. The ensuing difficulty in comprehending the law is a potential threat to legitimacy while conversely facilitating agency and power in patent systems.

Convenors: Graeme Dinwoodie, Dev Gangjee & Robert Pitkethly Directions to the seminar room from the Porter's Lodge. Refreshments provided, all are welcome (registration not required. Please direct enquiries to jennifer.hassan@law.ox.ac.uk