Use of a substance to achieve a technical effect only attained in special circumstances 

In T 977/02 the claim in suit was directed not to a device per se but to use of a specific component (an electric machine carcase) to attain a technical effect (to facilitate the recycling of the electric machine). Applying G 2/88 (OJ 1990, 93) and G 6/88 (OJ 1990, 114), the board held that a claim to the use of a component having a specific property (material that can be crushed into fragments) for a specific purpose (to facilitate the recycling of an electric machine) stated in the said claim and based on a technical effect described in the patent (flow of the material that can be crushed into fragments through the turns of the winding during recycling) should be interpreted as comprising a functional technical feature by virtue of that technical effect. According to the board, this was still valid when, as in the case before it, the technical effect was attained only in special circumstances (when the electric machine was recycled). The board also held that the choice of the specific material for manufacture of the carcase covered by the use defined by the claim in suit constituted a novel selection.

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