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...or how to escape the added matter – clarity trap for disclaimers

The strict formalistic approach adopted by the EPO on many issues can easily lead to the applicant being trapped between various requirements of the EPC. One particularly well-known problem is the inescapable trap that arises if a patentee tries to remove a limiting feature that adds matter, contrary to Article 123(2) EPC, from a claim without contravening Article 123(3) EPC, i.e. the prohibition to extend the protective scope after grant. Another trap of practical significance can occur if an applicant tries to exempt novelty-destroying subject-matter from his claim by means of a disclaimer according to G 1/03 if the embodiment to be disclaimed is described in unclear terms. Such a case was decided by Board 3.3.07 in T 2130/11 on 2 December 2014: