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Guide for applicants, Part 2: PCT procedure before the EPO (Euro-PCT Guide)

 
 
Limited competence
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The EPO has limited its competence as ISA under certain conditions. The EPO will not carry out an international search in respect of any international application filed by a national or resident of the United States of America with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) as receiving Office where such application contains one or more claims relating to the field of business methods as defined in Annex A of the Agreement EPO-WIPO.
OJ 2010, 304
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Moreover, if the IB acted as receiving Office in respect of such an application, the EPO is not competent as ISA if the international application could have been filed with the USPTO as receiving Office, unless at least one of the applicants is a national of or has residence in an EPC contracting state (see point 43).
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In respect of international applications claiming a business method and for which the limitation of competence does not apply, the EPO may also refuse to carry out a (full) international search for the reasons set out below (see point 256).