Just got an extended European search report with Unity rejection, stating that the the application does not meet the requirement of unity according to Article 82 EPC, the reason being as follows:
independent claims does not involve an inventive step within the meaning of Article 56 EPC.
On this condition, I would like to know if I could just amend the independent claims to aovid obviousness and argue with the Office by stating that the instant application does involve unity because the amended independent claims possess inventive step?
Below is an extract from the EESR.
1.1 The present application deos meet the requirement of unity according to Article 82 EPC, the reasons being as follows:
The subject matter of claims 1 and 12 does not involve an inventive step within the meaning of Article 56 EPC (see detailed reasoning below in points 3.1 and 3.2). Strating from document D1 as the prior art within the meaning of Rule 44(1) EPC, the dependent claims 2 to 11 and 13 to 19 do not introduce a same or corresponding special technical feature.
Then the Office started specifying the technical features of each group of claims.
In summary, the dependent claims 2 to 19 either do not provide an further contribution over the prior art or they introduce different special technical features which do no correspond as regards their technical effect.
Hence, the technical relationship between the subject-matter of said claims required by Rule 44 EPC is lacking, and the requirement for unity of invention referred to in Article 82 EPC is not fulfilled.
1.8 Hence, the following separate inventions or groups of inventions are not so linked as to form a single general inventive concept: ... ...
1.9 In accordance with Rule 164(1) EPC, the supplementary European search report has been drawn up for those parts of the application which relate to the invention, or group of inventions, first mentioned in the claims.
Since no additional search fee has been paid upon invitation for the other invention(s) (Rule 164(1) EPC), the application will be prosecuted on the basis of the invention in respect of which a search has been carried out, in other words the invention first mentioned in the claims.
The applicatn is therefore inventied to limit the application to the invention covered by the supplementary European search report and excise those parts of the application relating to the other invention(s).
The subject-matter to be excised may be made the subject of one or more divisional applications according to Rule 36 EPC.