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

 
 
IX.
Supplementary European search 
572
As a rule, a supplementary European search must be performed for each international application entering the European phase and a search fee must be paid. For an exception see point 577 ff. Like any European search report, the supplementary European search report is accompanied by an opinion under Rule 62 EPC, the European search opinion (ESOP), on whether the application and the invention to which it relates meet the requirements of the EPC. The supplementary European search report together with the search opinion is known as the "extended (supplementary) European search report" (EESR).
573
No search opinion under Rule 62 EPC will be issued if the applicant:
has filed the request for examination according to Rules 159(1)(f) EPC and
has waived the right to be asked under Rule 70(2) EPC whether he wishes to proceed further with the application (see points 591 and 594)
before the supplementary European search report has been transmitted to him. Instead, a communication will be issued under Rule 71(1) or 71(3) EPC, respectively inviting the applicant to correct and/or amend the application or informing him of the text in which the EPO intends to grant the patent.
GL/EPO B-XI, 7;
574
The supplementary European search is performed on the basis of the last set of (amended) claims available to the EPO on expiry of the time limit set in the Rule 161/162 communication (see points 498 ff). That set of claims is considered the final set at the time the search is performed (see point 489). Any claim for which a claim fee due has not been paid will not be searched (see points 611 ff).
575
If a supplementary European search is carried out, the European Patent Bulletin will mention the date of despatch of the supplementary European search report. The report is not published, but is available through file inspection.  
576
If during the supplementary European search the EPO comes to the conclusion that the application contains more than one independent claim in the same category which does not fall under the exceptions listed under Rule 43(2) EPC, it may issue an invitation to indicate, within a time limit of two months, the basis on which the search is to be carried out (Rule 62a(1) EPC). Similarly, if it is impossible to carry out a meaningful search on the basis of all or some of the subject-matter claimed, an invitation to file, again within a time limit of two months, a statement indicating the subject-matter to be searched will be issued. Any declaration of no search, or a partial supplementary European search report issued subsequently due to failure to overcome the deficiency, takes the place of the European search report.