The Format for Medical Use Claims at the European Patent Office

The European Patent Convention includes provisions against patenting of medical methods.

Medical uses of compositions are, in principle, patentable, but particular formats must be used. The currently approved format for claiming first and further medical uses of a composition is “[Composition] for use in the treatment of [disease]”.

Previously the EPO required claims for second or further medical uses of a composition to be of the so-called “Swiss-type” format. That is, the claim was to “Use of [composition] in the preparation of a medicament for the treatment of [disease]”. Such claims are longer accepted, and the EPO will invite the applicant to delete them.

Further claim formats may also be desirable to provide the best protection for a particular medical invention. We recommend that you ask us for advice before preparing claims to a medical invention for filing at the EPO.