The Evolution of Sufficiency in Common Law

19 Pages Posted: 24 Feb 2013

See all articles by Siva Thambisetty

Siva Thambisetty

London School of Economics and Political Science

Date Written: February 5, 2013


The requirement of disclosure in the patent specification is commonly presented as an essential arm of the patent bargain. This paper tests the assumption that disclosure requirements in a number of common law jurisdictions continue to reflect this and other shared origins of this doctrine. Instead we see forces such as Europeanisation and sector-specificity produce divergence and confusion over the purpose of sufficiency, particularly in the context of adjacent patentability criteria such as utility and nonobviousness. The result is a complex expression of this requirement that has eroded the normative strength of this doctrine as originally expressed in Liardet v Johnson.

Keywords: sufficiency, disclosure, utility, enablement, nonobviousness, breadth of claims

Suggested Citation

Thambisetty, Siva, The Evolution of Sufficiency in Common Law (February 5, 2013). LSE Legal Studies Working Paper No. 6/2013, Available at SSRN: or

Siva Thambisetty (Contact Author)

London School of Economics and Political Science ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom


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