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

 
 
Top-up search
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As from 1 July 2014 the EPO as IPEA will performperforms a top-up search in Chapter II in order to reveal further relevant prior-art documents, in particular intermediate prior art, which have been published or have become available to the IPEA after the international search report was established.
Art. 34(3)(4) PCT
PCT Newsletter 10/2013, 1
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Any relevant documents found during the top-up search will be indicated in the IPER. 
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A top-up search willdoes not normally not extend beyond the subject-matter searched by the ISA as set out in Rule 66.1ter PCT. It will beis performed in respect of all applications undergoing Chapter II examination, apart from in exceptional cases where the examiner considers that performing a top-up search would serve no useful purpose.
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The top-up search willis normally be performed at the start of Chapter II examination. However, in the case of non-unity where there is more than one invention claimed in the documents for which examination under Chapter II is demanded, the examiner will first issueissues an invitation to pay further examination fees and then performperforms the top-up search for all inventions for which further examination fees have been paid, provided that any such inventions are not excluded from preliminary examination by the examiner under Rule 66.1(e) PCT.
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The top-up search will beis based on the application documents available at the start of Chapter II examination. However, in the special case that the application is amended but the basis for the amendments could not be found and/or there is no letter explaining their basis in the description, the top-up search may be limited to the scope of the claims forming the basis of the IPER.
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If relevant documents are found during the top-up search which give rise to objections as to patentability, the EPO as IPEA will issueissues a second WO along the lines set out under point 372. More detailed information will be published in the Official Journal in the first half of 2014..