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Guidelines for Examination

Extent of generalisation 

Most claims are generalisations from one or more particular examples. The extent of generalisation permissible is a matter which the examiner must judge in each particular case in the light of the relevant prior art. Thus an invention which opens up a whole new field is entitled to more generality in the claims than one which is concerned with advances in a known technology. A fair statement of claim is one which is not so broad that it goes beyond the invention nor yet so narrow as to deprive the applicant of a just reward for the disclosure of his invention. The applicant should be allowed to cover all obvious modifications of, equivalents to and uses of that which he has described. In particular, if it is reasonable to predict that all the variants covered by the claims have the properties or uses the applicant ascribes to them in the description, he should be allowed to draw his claims accordingly. After the date of filing, however, he should be allowed to do so only if this does not contravene Art. 123(2).