4.2.6 Generic disclosure

It is established case law that a specific disclosure destroys the novelty of a generic feature in a claim but that a generic disclosure does not destroy the novelty of a specific feature (see T 651/91, T 776/07, T 1174/05, T 6/04).

In T 651/91 the board cited with approval the Guidelines, confirming that a generic disclosure did not normally deprive any specific example falling within that disclosure of novelty. The board further added that a disclosure could be generic even where it only left open the choice between two alternatives. In T 508/91 the board, citing the Guidelines, held that, on the other hand, the prior disclosure of the subset "vegetables" deprived the wider set "fruits and plants" of novelty (see also T 1204/00).

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