The Enlarged Board observed that the PCT Search Guidelines contained a direct reference to the consideration of unity of invention by the ISA on an a posteriori basis, i.e. after an assessment of the claims with regard to novelty and inventive step in relation to the prior art. A comparison with the corresponding EPO Guidelines showed that under the EPC 1973 it was also clearly foreseen that consideration of unity of invention by the search divisions might be carried out on an a posteriori basis (see also R. 46 EPC 1973
). In the view of the Enlarged Board, this was a consequence of the special structure of the PCT and the EPC 1973. Therefore, the Guidelines had on this point to be considered as consistent with the PCT and the EPC 1973. As to the PCT Search Guidelines, it was noted that such guidelines were based on Art. 56 PCT dealing with the task of the Committee for Technical Cooperation (see in particular Art. 56(3)(ii) PCT and the reference to the need for uniformity of, inter alia, working methods). The PCT Search Guidelines VII-9 (PCT Gazette No. 30/1992, 14025; now contained, in amended form, in chapter 10 of the PCT International Search and Preliminary Examination Guidelines, as in force from 25.3.2004), set out how this was to be applied in practice and were the basis for a uniform practice on the part of all International Searching Authorities.