1.4.6 Removal of a feature indicating the intended purpose

In T 448/03 the claim as granted referred to an "apparatus for ejecting liquid or powdered medium", whereas claim 1 and the description as originally filed referred to an "apparatus for impulse fire extinguishing". The board observed that according to case law, "for" had to be interpreted as meaning "suitable for" and thus "for" did not limit the use of the apparatus to extinguishing fire exclusively. However, the fact that the apparatus was suitable for a given use or was suitable to contain a specific medium implied specific requirements regarding the material the apparatus was made of and its capacity to contain the volume of medium which was necessary to achieve the expected effect, which was to extinguish fire. See also T 1143/17 where the board held that the feature "usable in a process of extrusion coating ..." could only be removed without extending the subject-matter if all compositions defined by amended claim 1 could be used in such a process.

In T 653/03, the original term "diesel engine" in claim 1 was replaced by the term "combustion engine". Thus, the suitability of the claimed method had been generalised. The board did not share appellant 1's view that the intended purpose of the method did not provide a technical contribution to the invention. The technical contribution was that the amended method had to be suitable for any type of combustion engine. Whether the method steps needed real modification or not was irrelevant when the amendment of the claim was not supported by the original application. See also T 923/13 concerning the deletion of the words "for paper containers".

For cases where the removal of a use or purpose feature was considered allowable, see however e.g. T 692/97, T 835/97 and T 235/99. See also T 308/13 where the board came to the conclusion that a certain clause in the description addressed the intended purpose rather than a further functional definition of the claimed compounds and therefore did not need to be included in the claim to avoid an intermediate generalisation.

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