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Guidelines for Examination

 
 

5. Conciseness, number of claims

The requirement that the claims must be concise refers to the claims in their entirety as well as to the individual claims. The number of claims must be considered in relation to the nature of the invention the applicant seeks to protect. Undue repetition of wording, e.g. between one claim and another, should be avoided by the use of the dependent form. Regarding independent claims in the same category, see F‑IV, 3.2 and 3.3. As for dependent claims, while there is no objection to a reasonable number of such claims directed to particular preferred features of the invention, the examiner should object to a multiplicity of claims of a trivial nature. What is or what is not a reasonable number of claims depends on the facts and circumstances of each particular case (see for example T 596/97, Reasons 8). The interests of the relevant public must also be borne in mind. The presentation of the claims should not make it unduly burdensome to determine the matter for which protection is sought (T 79/91 and T 246/91). Objection may also arise where there is a multiplicity of alternatives within a single claim, if this renders it unduly burdensome to determine the matter for which protection is sought.

Where it is found that the claims lack conciseness under Art. 84, this may lead to the issuing of a partial European or supplementary European search report under Rule 63 (see B‑VIII, 3.1 and 3.2). In such cases, in the absence of appropriate amendment and/or convincing arguments from the applicant as to why the invitation under Rule 63(1) was not justified, an objection under Rule 63(3) will also arise (see H‑II, 5).

References

Art. 84
Rule 43(5)