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Guidelines for Examination

 
 

4. Overcoming a technical prejudice?

As a general rule, there is an inventive step if the prior art leads the person skilled in the art away from the procedure proposed by the invention. This applies in particular when the skilled person would not even consider carrying out experiments to determine whether these were alternatives to the known way of overcoming a real or imagined technical obstacle.

Example: Drinks containing carbon dioxide are, after being sterilised, bottled while hot in sterilised bottles. The general opinion is that immediately after withdrawal of the bottle from the filling device the bottled drink must be automatically shielded from the outside air so as to prevent the bottled drink from spurting out. A process involving the same steps but in which no precautions are taken to shield the drink from the outside air (because none are in fact necessary) would therefore be inventive.