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Guidelines for Examination

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).