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Guidelines for Examination

 
 

10.1 Predictable disadvantage; non‑functional modification; arbitrary choice

It should be noted that if the invention is the result of a foreseeable disadvantageous modification of the closest prior art, which the skilled person could clearly predict and correctly assess, and if this predictable disadvantage is not accompanied by an unexpected technical advantage, then the claimed invention does not involve an inventive step (see T 119/82 and T 155/85). In other words, a mere foreseeable worsening of the prior art does not involve an inventive step. However, if this worsening is accompanied by an unexpected technical advantage, an inventive step might be present. Similar considerations apply to the case where an invention is merely the result of an arbitrary non-functional modification of a prior-art device or of a mere arbitrary choice from a host of possible solutions (see T 72/95 and T 939/92).