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Guidelines for Examination


2.1 Methods for treatment of the human or animal body by surgery or therapy and diagnostic methods practised on the human or animal body

Even if a claim is drafted as a method of medical treatment (see G‑II, 4.2) and is for this reason not directed to patentable subject-matter, a meaningful search may be possible if the determining technical feature is the effect of the substance, which can be searched, and as such the procedure under Rule 63 (see B‑VIII, 3.1 to 3.4) would not be necessary. If, however, specific method features are present (e.g. combination of pharmaceutical with physical treatment), a meaningful search may not be possible. In cases of doubt the Search Division should issue an invitation under Rule 63(1) (see B‑VIII, 3.1). However, regardless of whether such claims are searched or not, the applicant’s attention should be drawn in the search opinion (if applicable, see B‑XI, 7) to the fact that such subject-matter is excluded from patentability (see B‑XI, 3).