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5.16 Rule 19(8) does not prescribe a particular single format to be followed by applicants in all cases. Instead claims can follow one of two formats:
1. A two-part format having the structure of
(a) a first part containing a statement indicating the general class of invention followed by a definition of features that appear to be part of the prior art;
(b) a bridging phrase (“characterised in that”, “characterised by”, “wherein the improvement comprises” or other words to the same effect); and
(c) a second part which is the characterising portion stating the features which add to the prior art.
2. A single statement setting out the features of the invention.
5.17 In the two-part format, there is no requirement that all features of the prior art be defined in the first part indicating the general class of invention. The applicant may define only those features that they consider relevant to the invention, and features that the skilled person would understand to be implicit in the invention need not be set out in the claims. For example, a bicycle would be understood to have wheels, a frame and pedals, so a claim to a bicycle incorporating a new type of handlebar arrangement would not need to set out these features.
5.18 If the search discovers prior art disclosing one or more features of the second part in combination with the features of the first part, then these features form part of the prior art and should be transferred into the first part. However, there may be alternative ways for claiming a combination, so the Examiner can take a fairly flexible approach when construing such claims provided the scope of the claim would be clear to the skilled person.
5.19 A claim having two or more sentences and other claim formality issues should be objected to if they are unclear to the skilled person.