This revised version of the Guidelines for Examination will apply as from 1 November 2015. Until then, the September 2014 edition of the Guidelines remains valid.

2.2 Effectiveness and efficiency of the search

The effectiveness and efficiency of any search for relevant documents (Rule 61(1)) depend on the degree of order which is available in, or which can be applied to, the collection of documents to be searched, the order allowing the examiner to determine sections of the documentation to be consulted. The basic components for creating order in a collection of documents are words, classification units, indexing codes or bibliographical links between documents by commonly cited documents. The order may have a permanent character, as with indexing words, classification symbols or indexing codes, or it may be created on demand by a search strategy judiciously using the above-mentioned basic components, the outcome of which is a section of the documentation which is likely to contain material pertinent to the invention. The examiner should for reasons of economy exercise his judgment, based on his knowledge of the technology in question and of the available information retrieval systems, to omit sections of the documentation in which the likelihood of finding any documents relevant to the search is negligible, for example documents falling within a period preceding the time when the area of technology in question began to develop. Similarly he need only consult one member of a patent family unless he has good reason to suppose that, in a particular case, there are relevant substantial differences in the content of different members of the same family (see B‑IX, 2.4).

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