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Guidelines for Examination

 
 

8. Restriction of the subject of the search

In the following cases, the search report, the declaration replacing it, or the incomplete or partial search report will indicate whether the subject of the search was restricted and which claims have or have not been searched:

(i)
claims above the number of fifteen for which no additional fee has been paid (see B‑III, 3.4). The claims not searched are identified. This only applies to European and supplementary European search reports;
(ii)
lack of unity of invention (see B‑VII). The different inventions must be mentioned by indicating their subject-matter and the claims relating thereto (in part or in full; see Rule 44(2). For the partial search report (see B‑VII, 1.1), an indication is made that it has been established for the invention first mentioned in the claims. This applies to a priori lack of unity and to a posteriori lack of unity. For the search report which will be drawn up for all those inventions in respect of which search fees have been paid, the different inventions (and corresponding claims in full or in part) which have been searched are indicated in the search report;
(iii)
claims in respect of which a meaningful search cannot or only an incomplete search can be carried out (see B‑VIII). A declaration is made either:
(a)
that a meaningful search has not been possible on the basis of all claims (this declaration replaces the search report); or 
(b)
that a meaningful search has not been possible for one or more of the claims in part or in full. In this case, the claims concerned are mentioned in the declaration accompanying the incomplete search report.

In both cases (a) and (b), the reasons for not carrying out or restricting the search should be indicated (for example: subject-matter not patentable; insufficiently clear claims);

(iv)
claims in respect of which a search was not carried out due to non-compliance with Rule 43(2) (see B‑VIII, 4.2).