37 CFR 1.475: Unity of invention before the International Searching Authority, the International Preliminary Examining Authority and during the national stage

Taken from the Ninth Edition of the MPEP, Revision 07.2015, Last Revised in November 2015

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1.475    Unity of invention before the International Searching Authority, the International Preliminary Examining Authority and during the national stage.

  • (a) An international and a national stage application shall relate to one invention only or to a group of inventions so linked as to form a single general inventive concept (“requirement of unity of invention”). Where a group of inventions is claimed in an application, the requirement of unity of invention shall be fulfilled only when there is a technical relationship among those inventions involving one or more of the same or corresponding special technical features. The expression “special technical features” shall mean those technical features that define a contribution which each of the claimed inventions, considered as a whole, makes over the prior art.
  • (b) An international or a national stage application containing claims to different categories of invention will be considered to have unity of invention if the claims are drawn only to one of the following combinations of categories:
    • (1) A product and a process specially adapted for the manufacture of said product; or
    • (2) A product and process of use of said product; or
    • (3) A product, a process specially adapted for the manufacture of the said product, and a use of the said product; or
    • (4) A process and an apparatus or means specifically designed for carrying out the said process; or
    • (5) A product, a process specially adapted for the manufacture of the said product, and an apparatus or means specifically designed for carrying out the said process.
  • (c) If an application contains claims to more or less than one of the combinations of categories of invention set forth in paragraph (b) of this section, unity of invention might not be present.
  • (d) If multiple products, processes of manufacture or uses are claimed, the first invention of the category first mentioned in the claims of the application and the first recited invention of each of the other categories related thereto will be considered as the main invention in the claims, see PCT Article 17(3)(a) and § 1.476(c).
  • (e) The determination whether a group of inventions is so linked as to form a single general inventive concept shall be made without regard to whether the inventions are claimed in separate claims or as alternatives within a single claim.
[Added 52 FR 20047, May 28, 1987, effective July 1, 1987; paras. (a) - (e) amended and para. (f) deleted, 58 FR 4335, Jan. 14, 1993, effective May 1, 1993]