Other Decisions from the EPO

Date Published

Viewing Assembly  -  Case W0038/90

The Protest Board found that three independent claims represented three concepts to overcome three distinct problems with the prior art given in the specification.  The concepts had nothing in common and so the claims referred to different specific technical features without any relationship with respect to each other - there was no single general concept linking the different inventions.

The Board noted that a sole common link between the claims was that the respective features all contribute to the realisation of the same device, namely a viewing assembly for a door.  However they said this "common pre-characterising feature is confined to indicate the designation of the invention, as part of the prior art; it is not, however, a specific feature interacting with the remaining characterising features and thereby contributing to the various inventions and their effects."  They thus rejected this sole link as irrelevant for possible inventive contribution over the prior art, and concluded lack of unity a priori.

Chlorination process  -  Case W0009/93

The problem to be solved by the processes of Claims 1 to 18 was to improve a known chlorination process.  Claim 19 was to compounds intended to solve the different technical problem of providing monomers or intermediates therefor.  The intermediate compounds produced according to claims 1 to 9 were known from a US Patent as was the second reaction step in claims 10 to 18.  The Protest Board noted that the fact the reaction step was part of the prior art destroyed the link between the contributions over the prior art made by the process of claims 1 to 9 and the compounds of claim 19.  The Board also noted the group of inventions did not relate to a common technical problem or to one single technical concept behind solutions to different problems.  There was lack of unity a posteriori.

Further guidance on unity of invention issues may be gained by reference to the "Case Law of the Boards of Appeal" of the EPO which can be found at their website, which can be accessed through the Examiners workbench.