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  • Methods and processes

    Methods and processes are generally considered suitable for patent applications. For a method or process to be patentable, it must be one offers some advantage which is material, in the sense that the process belongs to a useful art as distinct from a finite. That is, the value to the countries in the field of economic endeavour.

    The invention by NRDC (discussed in the preceding section) was to a method for eradicating weeds from crop areas containing a growing crop, which comprises applying to the crop area a herbicide of known chemicals. The Commissioner of patents argued that the invention was not a manner of manufacture because:

    • the chemicals where known and hence the invention was merely use of a known substance, which does not result in a vendible product as required; and
    • all agricultural and horticultural processors are excluded from the concept of manner of manufacture.

    Their honours rejected these arguments and found that methods and processes are generally suitable for patent applications, and that there is no exception to the patentability of agricultural and horticultural processes.