Dependent Claims

Date Published

Examiners are required to search the core features as defined in the entire claim set, including both independent and dependent claims. Thus, all dependent claims that are considered to define non-trivial features, including those that the claims might reasonably be expected to be directed towards following amendment, should be searched in accordance with the principles outlined in searching Independent Claims.

Where there are numerous dependent claims (or numerous additional features defined by those claims), examiners should, in consultation with the three person team, determine which claims, or groups of claims, should be searched in detail.

Dependent claims adding trivial features should be grouped with their respective independent claims and no special effort need be made in searching only for documents that disclose such features or for locating such features in any cited documents, unless challenged at a later report stage. Similarly, it is not necessary to provide documentary evidence to support an assertion that a feature is common general knowledge, where the features are well known in the art. However, if a textbook or other document showing that a feature is generally well known can be readily found, it should be cited in the report. Examiners should in any event note that documentary evidence may be required at later report stages to substantiate the assertion that a feature is trivial or generally well known.

  • See also Search Considerations