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Guidelines for Examination

 
 
5.
Additional search 

In exceptional cases, the Opposition Division, like the Examining Division, may on its own initiative cite new material relating to the state of the art and take it into account in its subsequent decision (see C-IV, 7.3). In the normal course of events, however, since the grant of the patent will have been preceded by a search into the subject-matter of the application by the Search Division, by the Examining Division and generally by the opponents, no additional search will be made. Only in exceptional cases should an additional search by the Search Division be set in train. Such a case might arise, for example, if in the opposition the main subject covered by the patent shifts to elements of a dependent claim which were originally of subsidiary importance, to elements which were previously not set out in the claims, but only in the description, to individual features of a combination, or to sub-combinations, and there are grounds for believing that the original search did not extend to such elements or features and if no relevant document can be found quickly in the circumstances set out in C-IV, 7.3.