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Guidelines for Examination


Each claim should be read giving the words the meaning and scope which they normally have in the relevant art, unless in particular cases the description gives the words a special meaning, by explicit definition or otherwise. Moreover, if such a special meaning applies, the examiner should, so far as possible, require the claim to be amended whereby the meaning is clear from the wording of the claim alone. This is important because it is only the claims of the European patent, not the description, which will be published in all the official languages of the EPO. The claim should also be read with an attempt to make technical sense out of it. Such a reading may involve a departure from the strict literal meaning of the wording of the claims. Art. 69 and its Protocol do not provide a basis for excluding what is literally covered by the terms of the claims (see T 223/05).