In relation to searches carried out for European patent applications, the subject-matter listed in Rule 39.1 PCT may be considered under the EPC either not to be susceptible of industrial application (Art. 57) or, to the extent to which the European patent application relates to that subject-matter as such, to be excluded from patentability under Art. 52(2) and Art. 52(3), or to constitute an exception to patentability under Art. 53(b) and Art. 53(c). The claims are not searched in as far as they relate to such subject-matter (for the procedure for limiting the search according to Rule 63 see B‑VIII, 3.1 to B‑VIII, 3.4). For the specific case of compositions for use in methods of treatment of the human or animal body by surgery or therapy, or diagnostic methods practised on the human or animal body, see B‑VIII, 2.1 below.
While a decision on these matters rests with the examining division, opinions on these matters are formed by the search division for the purpose of drafting the search opinion (if applicable, see B‑XI, 7) and also in considering possible limitations of the search and therefore whether or not to apply the procedure provided for under Rule 63(1) (see B‑VIII, 3.1 to B‑VIII, 3.4). The search division has thus to consider the requirements for patentability other than novelty and inventive step, as set out in G‑II and G‑III.
The above-mentioned situations may also occur for only some of the claims or for part of a claim. In these cases, this will be indicated in the invitation according to Rule 63(1) and in any subsequent incomplete search report or the declaration taking the place of the search report under Rule 63(2).