If the EPO considers that the application does not comply with the EPC to such an extent that it is impossible to carry out a meaningful search into the state of the art on the basis of all or some of the subject-matter claimed (see B-VIII, 1, B-VIII, 2 and B-VIII, 3), it will invite the applicant to file, within a period of two months, a statement indicating the subject-matter to be searched. The invitation will also give the reasons behind this finding and may additionally indicate the claimed subject-matter on which the Search Division considers it feasible to base a meaningful search.
In the particular case of medical method claims, a complete search report is issued only when the claims can easily be reformulated to patentable subject-matter (see B-VIII, 2.1). Conversely, if an incomplete search report (or a declaration of no search) is envisaged, an invitation must be sent (e.g. in respect of the claims that cannot easily be reformulated).