Manner of Manufacture

Commissioner v Aristocrat [2021] FCAFC 202

Aristocrat sought to patent a ‘system or method for providing a feature game’ on poker machines12.  Was the claim for a ‘manner of manufacture within the meaning of s 6 of the Statute of Monopolies’?13

Although ‘manner of manufacture’ appears in the legislation, its meaning is not resolved by the ordinary principles of statutory interpretation.  It is determined by what courts regard as falling within the scope of the patent system in line with principles developed for the application of s 614.  This is an example of a term embedded in a old statute taking an evolving legal meaning within a new statute15.  The feature game system was not patentable.

This principle is from Episode 80 of interpretation NOW!


12 A ‘feature game’ is one awarded to keep players wagering for longer.

13 s 18(1)(a) of the Patents Act 1990 (Cth).

14 CCOM (1994) 51 FCR 260 (at 291), Myriad [2015] HCA 35 (at [18]) cited.

15 cf Synthon BV [2005] UKHL 59 (at [57]), Bennion 5th ed (at 548).