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Guide for applicants, Part 2: PCT procedure before the EPO (Euro-PCT Guide)

 
 
Lack of unity of invention
292
If the EPO as SISA is of the opinion that the international application claims more than one invention, stating the reasons for its finding it will perform a search only for those parts of the application relating to the main invention, i.e. the invention first mentioned in the claims. If, however, the ISA has already made a non-unity objection and the applicant has, upon filing the SIS request, specified for which invention identified in the ISR the SISR is to be drawn up, the EPO as SISA: 
will restrict its search to that invention, if it agrees with the finding of the ISA; 
will take the applicant's wish into account as far as possible, if the non-unity objection made by the ISA is not followed but a different non-unity objection is found; 
will perform a full search if it considers the requirement of unity of invention to be met. 
293
In the case of a non-unity finding by the EPO as SISA, the applicant cannot pay additional search fees to obtain further searches as in the procedure before the ISA (see point 263). However, the applicant may request a review of a non-unity finding within one month of the date of the notification of the SISR, on condition that the review fee set by the EPO is paid within the same time limit. The review fee must be paid directly to the EPO. If the review panel considers the lack of unity objection (partly) justified, a revised SISR taking into account the outcome of the review procedure is established.
294
Upon entry into the European phase the EPO as designated/elected Office will consider whether the application for which it acted as SISA - and which meanwhile may have been amended - meets the requirement of unity of invention and whether protection is sought for an invention covered by the SISR. If not, the examining division will invite the applicant to limit the application to a single invention covered by the SISR. Any other invention may be pursued in the European phase only by filing a divisional application (see point 659). However, as of 1 November 2014 it will be possible for the applicant to pay, within a period of two months, one or more further search fees in respect of any unsearched inventions claimed upon entry into the European phase in order for these to be covered by a further search (see points 646 ff).
OJ 2009, 582