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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 international search report (or, where a supplementary European search report has been established, by that report), it must invite the applicant to limit the application to one invention covered by 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.

If after receipt of the (supplementary) European search report 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).