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Statutory requirements

Aesthetic creations: literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works

8.20 A purely aesthetic creation (including written works, photographs, paintings, sculptures, music, speeches, or other artistic works) is not an invention. This includes not only the idea or mental aspects of the creation, but also any physical representation of the work.

8.21 However, there may be certain instances where the actual contribution is more than the mere aesthetic creation. For example a design on a surface would likely constitute a purely aesthetic creation if the design was merely decorative. However, if the actual contribution of the claimed subject matter is the achievement of improved non-slip properties as a result of the design, then the design may constitute an invention.

8.22 Similarly, a particular colour may be considered an invention provided the selection of said colour addresses a specific problem that is not merely aesthetic. For example, a blue squash ball was considered patentable since the colour improved its visibility (ITS Runner Ltd’s Application [1979] RPC 318).