For claims characterised by a combination of elements (e.g. A, B and C) the search should be directed towards the combination. However, when searching sections of the documentation for this purpose, sub-combinations, including the elements individually (e.g. A and B, A and C, B and C, and also A, B and C separately) should be searched in those sections at the same time. A search in additional sections of the documentation either for sub-combinations or for individual elements of the combination should only be performed if this is still necessary for establishing the novelty of the element in order to assess the inventive step of the combination.