EPO Board of Appeal decides on clarity of a disclaimer

In a decision T2130/11 of December 2, 2014 a Board of Appeal decided that the requirement of Article 84 EPC concerning clarity is equally applicable to a disclaimer as to any other feature of a claim. This requirement may lead to a conflict with the principle laid down in the Enlarged Board of Appeal decision G1/03 saying that a disclaimer should not remove more than it is necessary to restore novelty. Now, the Board of Appeal solved this conflict by saying that the requirement of a disclaimer to just restore novelty is linked to its purpose, namely that the necessity for a disclaimer is not an opportunity for the applicant to reshape his claim arbitrarily. Consequently, if necessary under the aspect of clarity, it is acceptable if a disclaimer removes more than strictly necessary to restore novelty and this would not be in contradiction with the spirit of the decision of the Enlarged Board of Appeal G1/03.