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Guidelines for Examination

 
 
4.6
Relative terms 

It is preferable not to use a relative or similar term such as "thin", "wide" or "strong" in a claim unless the term has a well-recognised meaning in the particular art, e.g. "high-frequency" in relation to an amplifier, and this is the meaning intended. Where the term has no well-recognised meaning it should, if possible, be replaced by a more precise wording found elsewhere in the original disclosure. Where there is no basis in the disclosure for a clear definition and the term is not essential having regard to the invention, it should normally be retained in the claim, because to excise it would generally lead to an extension of the subject-matter beyond the content of the application as filed - in contravention of Art. 123(2). However, an unclear term cannot be allowed in a claim if the term is essential having regard to the invention. Equally, an unclear term cannot be used by the applicant to distinguish his invention from the prior art.