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Case Law of the Boards of Appeal

3.1. General principle

In accordance with the principle of good faith, the EPO is obliged to warn users of the European patent system of omissions or errors which could lead to a final loss of rights. A warning would always be necessary when one could be expected in all good faith (G 2/97, OJ 1999, 123). This would presuppose that the deficiency could be easily identified by the EPO and the applicant was in a position to correct the deficiency and thereby avoid the impending loss of rights (J 13/90, OJ 1994, 456). In other words, the EPO can only be expected to warn a party of a deficiency if the deficiency is readily identifiable by the EPO, and the party can still correct it within the relevant time limit (G 2/97, J 13/11).

The principle of good faith does not impose an obligation to warn a party of deficiencies within the area of the party's own responsibility (G 2/97; see below point 3.3).