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This may be a dumb question, but I cannot find the answer anywhere, so here it goes: Can I file multiple different and unrelated inventions as independent claims in one application? For example, let's say that one invention is an automotive braking technology, and another is a healthcare device. Could I list them as independent claims in the same application?

Thanks.

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What you are talking about is called "unity". In most patent offices (in all of them I would guess) a set of claims must relate to a single general concept. If not, the applicant is required to keep only part of it. The reason behind this is that for different inventions different searches are required (and they are not willing to do it when you pay for only one). Under the PCT procedure you can pay additional fees and have the other inventions searched as well. The same goes for the EPO procedure. I assume similar rules have been set for other offices too. So if you want to stitch together a number of different independent claims, you can do it. But the claims will have no unity (see Rule 13 PCT) and you will have either to pay for each different invention, or have just one of them searched. The fate of the non-searched claims may vary from country to country but normally you would be able to split the claims to more patent applications (and pay for them of course).

  • Thank you very much for your detailed and informative response. – m.chang Sep 10 '16 at 4:01

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