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Guidelines for Examination


4.2 No examination of multiple inventions in EP phase

Although under PCT Chapter II, where the EPO is the IPEA, the applicant can have multiple inventions examined in one IPER if further examination fees have been paid (or if the examiner has chosen not to invite the applicant to pay further fees), in the European procedure only one invention will be examined.

In cases where an objection as to lack of unity was raised in the international search report and the Examining Division considers that the application documents which are to serve as basis for the European grant procedure do not meet the requirements of unity of invention, or if protection is sought for an invention not covered by the (supplementary) international search report, by the supplementary European search report or by a search carried out under Rule 164(2) (or, where a supplementary European search report has been established, by that report), itbecause the search fee due was not paid, the Examining Division must invite the applicant to limit the application to one invention covered by one of these searches.the international (or the supplementary European) search report. This, however, applies only to inventions previously identified as non-unitary and not if certain subject-matter was not searched in the international phase for other reasons (e.g. unclear subject-matter, subject-matter excluded from patentability, subject-matter taken from the description). In these latter cases an additional search under C‑IV, 7.2 might be required. The procedure under Rule 164(2) is set out in detail in C‑III, 2.3.

If after receipt of the (supplementary) European search report or, where applicable, after a communication under Rule 164(2)(b) the applicant files amended claims relating to an invention which differs from any of the originally claimed inventions and which does not combine with these inventions to form a single inventive concept, an objection under Rule 137(5) should be raised in the first communication pursuant to Art. 94(3) and Rule 71(2) (see also F‑V, 13, and H‑II, 6).