This revised version of the Guidelines for Examination will apply as from 1 November 2015. Until then, the September 2014 edition of the Guidelines remains valid.

3. Insufficient disclosure

Occasionally applications are filed in which there is a fundamental insufficiency in the invention in the sense that it cannot be carried out by a person skilled in the art; there is then a failure to satisfy the requirements of Art. 83 which is essentially irreparable. Two instances deserve special mention. The first is where the successful performance of the invention is dependent on chance. That is to say, the skilled person, in following the instructions for carrying out the invention, finds either that the alleged results of the invention are unrepeatable or that success in obtaining these results is achieved in a totally unreliable way. An example where this may arise is a microbiological process involving mutations. Such a case should be distinguished from one where repeated success is assured even though accompanied by a proportion of failures, as can arise e.g. in the manufacture of small magnetic cores or electronic components. In this latter case, provided the satisfactory parts can be readily sorted by a non-destructive testing procedure, no objection arises under Art. 83. The second instance is where successful performance of the invention is inherently impossible because it would be contrary to well-established physical laws – this applies e.g. to a perpetual motion machine. If the claims for such a machine are directed to its function, and not merely to its structure, an objection arises not only under Art. 83 but also under Art. 52(1) in that the invention is not "susceptible of industrial application" (see G‑III, 1).

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