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.

1. General remarks

The requirement of unity of invention serves a regulatory function in the interest of an efficient procedure up to grant (T 110/82 and F‑V, 8). It would be unfair to regard as having unity of invention those applications which, because of their heterogeneous content, entail a far greater than average expense to process, especially in respect of search, since this expense must partly be borne by the fees levied for other applications. A further aspect is the requirement for ready comprehensibility of the application's subject-matter, which may be impaired by heterogeneous subject-matter.

On the other hand, the general purpose of dealing with interconnected substantive issues within a single procedure would not be achieved if provisions relating to unity of invention were applied too strictly. For this reason, interconnected matter should not be split up needlessly (see F‑V).

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