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Guidelines for Examination

Reasoning of decisions 

The statement of grounds must first set out and substantiate why the Division is of the opinion that no patent can be granted, citing the individual EPC articles and rules involved.

The reasoning must contain, in logical sequence, those arguments which justify the order. It should be complete and independently comprehensible, i.e. generally without references. If, however, a question has already been raised in detail in a particular communication contained in the file, the reasoning of the decision may be summarised accordingly and reference may be made to the relevant communication for the details.

The conclusions drawn from the facts and evidence, e.g. publications, must be made clear. The parts of a publication which are important for the decision must be cited in such a way that those conclusions can be checked without difficulty. It is not sufficient, for example, merely to assert that the cited publications show that the subject of a claim is known or obvious, or, conversely, do not cast doubt on its patentability; instead, reference should be made to each particular passage in the publications to show why this is the case.

It is particularly important that special attention should be paid to important facts and arguments which may speak against the decision made. If not, the impression might be given that such points have been overlooked. Documents which cover the same facts or arguments may be treated in summary form, in order to avoid unnecessarily long reasoning.

The need for complete and detailed reasoning is especially great when dealing with contentious points which are important for the decision; on the other hand, no unnecessary details or additional reasons should be given which are intended to provide further proof of what has already been proven.