I would like understand how a patent application get examined.

Let's say, I have 1 independent claim and 99 level 1 dependent claims.

Does that mean, the examiner search for prior art for all 99 dependent claims when the independent claim seem obvious?

Or he will pause somewhere in the middle and then send the first office action?

1 Answer 1


Any claim that is not either objected to or rejected is inherently accepted so they all need to be dealt with in the first office action. The independent claim might be non-novel or obvious but any of the dependent claims might add enough limitations to achieve patentablity.

I strongly advise to not have that many claims. It might be annoying to the examiner who doesn't get any extra time to do the work. One idea is to include claim-like wording in the specification as "aspects of the invention", not using the word claim. Then you will not have a problem if you want to amend them in or use them in a continuation or divisional. In the U.S. it would be a good idea to use the three independent claims in order to get at the invention from three points of view or in three statutory classes.

  • Thanks. What is a reasonable limit for dependent claims? Jan 5, 2020 at 21:17
  • Never mind. Just noticed your edit. It contains enough info I need. Thanks Jan 5, 2020 at 21:18
  • 1
    Three or four independent claims and 20-25 dependent claims is about as many as I would suggest.
    – George White
    Jan 6, 2020 at 4:01

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