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Guidelines for Examination

 
 

13. Dependent claims; claims in different categories

If the subject-matter of an independent claim is new and non-obvious, there is no need to investigate the novelty and non-obviousness of the subject-matter of any claims dependent thereon, except in situations where the subject-matter of a dependent claim has a later effective date than the independent claim and intermediate documents are to be considered (see F‑VI, 2.4.3).

Similarly, if the subject-matter of a claim to a product is new and non-obvious there is no need to investigate the novelty and non-obviousness of the subject-matter of any claims for a process which inevitably results in the manufacture of that product or of any claims for a use of that product. In particular, analogy processes, i.e. processes which themselves would otherwise not involve an inventive step, are nevertheless patentable insofar as they provide a novel and inventive product (see T 119/82). It should, however, be noted that in cases where the product, process and use claims have different effective dates, a separate examination as to novelty and inventive step may still be necessary in view of intermediate documents.