1

Let's bring an example (note I am naive in writing or understanding claims):

Independent claim 1: It is an awesome equipment to detect X,

dependent claim 2: the equipment of claim 1 detects X using a fork.

Could they reject it because an equipment to detect X already exists (no matter if they use spoon in their dependent claims)?

For example if I write it as:

Independent claim 1: It is an awesome equipment to detect X using a fork

Then could it be accepted because there is "fork" in independent claim while the independent claim of the others was general?!

2

Could they reject it because an equipment to detect X already exists (no matter if they use spoon in their dependent claims)?

Yes, Claim 1 will be rejected if the examiner finds prior art showing that equipment to detect X already exists (and you have a duty to bring such prior art to the examiner's attention if you know of it).

Dependent Claim 2 will not necessarily be rejected. However, if you cannot overcome the rejection of Claim 1, the patent cannot issue as written. It will be necessary at that time to amend the claims and import the limitations of Claim 2 into Claim 1. Amending claims in this way is always permitted and should never give rise to a new matter rejection. However, patent applicants will usually look for ways to add additional limitations to their independent claim that don't narrow all the way to their dependent claims but still patentably distinguish over the prior art. Of course, this is a lot trickier because of the possible new matter issues.

  • You mean each claim (no matter independent or dependent) is verified independently? cause I thought if they reject an independent claim, the dependent claims are also rejected. – Ahmad Jul 30 '15 at 15:34
  • 1
    @Ahmad No, patent examiners are not supposed to automatically reject dependent claims for that reason. However, realistically speaking, almost every patent application will get some dependent claims rejected without a fully developed rationale due to time constraints in the examination process. However, if you have something really original and it's not too deep in your hierarchy of claims there is a chance an examiner may not reject it though the independent claim it depends on is rejected. As explained, a patent cannot issue in this condition due to the independent claim rejection. – Atsby Jul 30 '15 at 15:49

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