Fundamentals of Patent Drafting

Subject LAWS70387 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 7 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

February, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start 13-Jan-2016
Teaching Period 10-Feb-2016 to 22-Apr-2016
Assessment Period End 08-Jul-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 14-Dec-2015
Census Date 19-Feb-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 06-May-2016

This subject has a quota of 30 students. Please refer to the Melbourne Law Masters website for further information about the management of subject quotas and waitlists.

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 24-26 hours
Total Time Commitment:

136-150 hours

The pre-teaching period commences four weeks before the subject commencement date. From this time, students are expected to access and review the Reading Guide that will be available from the LMS subject page and the subject materials provided by the subject coordinator, which will be available from Melbourne Law School. Refer to the Reading Guide for confirmation of which resources need to be read and what other preparation is required before the teaching period commences.


Successful completion of the below subject or an equivalent subject:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

Applicants without legal qualifications should note that subjects are offered in the discipline of law at an advanced graduate level. While every effort will be made to meet the needs of students trained in other fields, concessions will not be made in the general level of instruction or assessment. Most subjects assume the knowledge usually acquired in a degree in law (LLB, JD or equivalent). Applicants should note that admission to some subjects in the Melbourne Law Masters will be dependent upon the individual applicant’s educational background and professional experience.

Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

The Melbourne Law Masters welcomes applications from students with disabilities. The inherent academic requirements for study in the Melbourne Law Masters are:

  • The ability to attend a minimum of 75% of classes and actively engage in the analysis and critique of complex materials and debate;
  • The ability to read, analyse and comprehend complex written legal materials and complex interdisciplinary materials;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate in writing a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and to critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate orally a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to work independently and as a part of a group;
  • The ability to present orally and in writing legal analysis to a professional standard.

Students who feel their disability will inhibit them from meeting these inherent academic requirements are encouraged to contact Student Equity and Disability Support.


Prof Andrew F. Christie



Professor Andrew Christie (Coordinator)
Mr Leon Allen
Mr Ray Evans
Ms Nadia Odorico
Dr Jenny Petering

Phone: +61 3 8344 6190

Subject Overview:

This subject teaches students the fundamental principles and basic skills of drafting patent specifications. It does so through a combination of in-class instruction sessions for a range of topics, in-class drafting exercises with review sessions, and out-of-class drafting exercises with tutorial review sessions. Students are assessed by two practical assessment tasks, undertaken individually, outside the classroom. Passing the subject will satisfy the knowledge requirements specified by the Professional Standards Board for Patent and Trade Marks Attorneys for Topic Group G: Drafting patent specifications. The lecturers for this subject include two senior practising patent attorneys with substantial experience teaching drafting skills.

Principal topics include:

  • History and nature of specifications and claims
  • Approaches to claim drafting
  • Interpreting claims
  • Drafting basic claims
  • Drafting product claims with reference to prior art
  • Drafting process and method claims
  • Preparing a description
  • Consequences of drafting.
Learning Outcomes:

A student who has successfully completed this subject will:

  • Have an advanced and integrated understanding of the role of the components of a patent specification
  • Be able to critically examine, analyse, interpret and assess the meaning of claims in the context of a patent specification
  • Be an engaged participant in debate regarding approaches to claim drafting
  • Have a sophisticated appreciation of the principles and policies that underlie judicial interpretation of claims
  • Have an advanced understanding of how to draft a patent specification
  • Have the cognitive and technical skills to draft a patent specification for a simple mechanical invention
  • Have the communication skills to clearly articulate and convey complex information regarding the role of the components of a patent specification to relevant specialist and non-specialist audiences, including clients
  • Be able to demonstrate autonomy, expert judgment and responsibility as a practitioner and learner in the field of patent drafting.
  • Take-home examination (5,000-6,000 words as specified in the subject reading guide) (25%) 29 April - 2 May (5 pm release, 9 am submission)
  • 4-hour supervised examination (75%) (8 July)

A minimum of 75% attendance is a hurdle requirement.

Prescribed Texts:

Specialist printed materials will be made available free of charge from the Melbourne Law School prior to the pre-teaching period.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Links to further information:
Related Course(s): Graduate Diploma in Intellectual Property Law
Graduate Diploma in Legal Studies
Master of Commercial Law
Master of Intellectual Property Law
Master of Laws

Download PDF version.