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Construing the Specification and Claims

Scope of the patented invention

2.5 The extent of protection conferred by a patent is set out in Section 113(1) as follows:

For the purposes of this Act, an invention for a patent for which an application has been made or for which a patent has been granted shall, unless the context otherwise requires, be taken to be that specified in a claim of the specification of the application or patent, as the case may be, as interpreted by the description and any drawings contained in that specification, and the extent of the protection conferred by a patent or application for a patent shall be determined accordingly.

2.6 This provision essentially codifies a “purposive approach” to patent construction as set out by the House of Lords in Catnic Components Limited v Hill & Smith Limited [1982] RPC 183, and forbids a purely literal interpretation of the terms used in the claims.

2.7 In Singapore, this provision has been considered by the Court of Appeal in First Currency Choice Pte Ltd v Main-Line Corporate Holdings Ltd [2008] 1 SLR 335, FE Global Electronics Pte Ltd v Trek Technology (Singapore) Pte Ltd [2006] 1 SLR 874, Bean Innovations Ltd v Flexon Ltd [2001] 3 SLR 121 and Genelabs Diagnostics Pte Ltd v Institut Pasteur & Anor [2001] 1 SLR 121. In each decision, the Courts have adopted a purposive approach.