GL B III 3.7 Independent and dependent claims

The search carried out in sections of the documentation to be consulted for the independent claim(s) must include all dependent claims (for cases not complying with Rule 43(2), see B‑VIII, 4). Dependent claims should be interpreted as being restricted by all features of the claim(s) upon which they depend. Therefore, where the subject-matter of an independent claim is novel, that of its dependent claims will also be novel (see, however, F‑VI, 2.4.3). When the patentability of the subject-matter of the independent claim is not questioned as a result of the search, there is no need to make a further search or cite documents in respect of the subject-matter of the dependent claims as such (see, however, B‑II, 4.2(iii) and B‑XI, 1.2).[Rule 43(4); ]
Example 1 
In an application relating to cathode ray oscilloscope tubes, in which the independent claim is directed to specific means along the edge of the front of the tube for illuminating the screen and a dependent claim is directed to a specific connection between the front and the main part of the tube, the search division should, in the sections of the documentation it consults for searching the illumination means, also search for the connecting means whether in combination with the illumination means or not. If, after this search, the patentability of the illuminating means is not questioned, the search division should not extend its search for the connecting means to further sections of the documentation which are likely to contain material pertinent to or specifically provided for these connections.
Example 2 
If in an application dealing with a pharmaceutical composition for treating nail infections the patentability of the subject-matter of the independent claim relating to specific combinations of the active ingredients is not questioned as a result of the search, there is no need to continue the search for dependent claims dealing with the use of a specific volatile organic solvent as a carrier in the composition.

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EPC Implementing Rules

EPO Guidelines - B Search

EPO Guidelines - F The European Patent Application

EPO PCT GL - B Search

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