37 CFR 1.476
Determination of unity of invention before the International Searching Authority.
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§1.476 Determination of unity of invention before the International Searching Authority.
Before establishing the international search report, the International Searching Authority will determine whether the international application complies with the requirement of unity of invention as set forth in § 1.475
If the International Searching Authority considers that the international application does not comply with the requirement of unity of invention, it shall inform the applicant accordingly and invite the payment of additional fees (note § 1.445
and PCT Art. 17(3)(a) and PCT Rule 40). The applicant will be given a time period in accordance with PCT Rule 40.3 to pay the additional fees due.
In the case of non-compliance with unity of invention and where no additional fees are paid, the international search will be performed on the invention first mentioned ("main invention") in the claims.
Lack of unity of invention may be directly evident before considering the claims in relation to any prior art, or after taking the prior art into consideration, as where a document discovered during the search shows the invention claimed in a generic or linking claim lacks novelty or is clearly obvious, leaving two or more claims joined thereby without a common inventive concept. In such a case the International Searching Authority may raise the objection of lack of unity of invention.