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Case Law of the Boards of Appeal

 
 
5.6. Translations

If the translation of the European patent application is not filed in due time (see R. 6(1), 58 EPC), the application is deemed to be withdrawn (Art. 14(2) EPC; cf. Art. 90(3) EPC 1973 and J 18/01).

According to Art. 14(4) EPC, those persons entitled to file documents in an official language of a contracting state under that paragraph must supply a translation in English, French or German in accordance with the Implementing Regulations. If any required translation is not filed in due time, the document is deemed not to have been filed (cf. Art. 14(5) EPC 1973).

According to T 323/87 (OJ 1989, 343) and T 193/87 (OJ 1993, 207) respectively, a notice of appeal or a notice of opposition was deemed not to have been received under Art. 14(5) EPC 1973. However, in T 126/04 the board did not follow T 323/87 with respect to the legal consequence of failure to comply with the time limit. It held that the only possible interpretation of the reference in R. 65(1) EPC 1973 to R. 1(1) EPC 1973, which itself referred to Art. 14(4) EPC 1973, was that R. 65(1) EPC 1973 determined the legal consequence of failure to file a translation of the notice of appeal as required by Art. 14(4) EPC 1973. The legal consequence was therefore the inadmissibility of the appeal. It was not a case of conflict within the meaning of Art. 164(2) EPC 1973, since R. 65(1) EPC 1973 was a lex specialis.

The provisions of R. 65(1) EPC 1973 are now to be found in R. 101(1) EPC, which does not refer to R. 3(1) EPC, the equivalent to R. 1(1) EPC 1973.

In T 170/83 (OJ 1984, 605) a debit order was filed in error in Dutch. The board held that Art. 14 EPC 1973 did not apply - a debit order did not have to contain text in a language at all, whilst remaining quite clear. The question whether a debit order in a non-official language was effective therefore did not arise.

In T 700/05, the board found that, taking into account that Euro-PCT applications were deemed by Art. 153(2) EPC to be European applications and the principle that they thus had to be treated as favourably as applications made in a Contracting State, a PCT application originally filed in Japanese had to be treated in the same way as an application filed in the language of a Contracting State which language was not an official language of the EPC. The provision of Art. 14(2) EPC 1973 had thus to be applied by analogy to allow also the translation into English of an original PCT application in Japanese to be brought into conformity with the original Japanese text of the application throughout the proceedings before the EPO, i.e. also including opposition and appeal proceedings. See also T 1483/10.

Concerning translation points in relation to amendments see decisions T 605/93 and T 287/98, summarised in point II.E.1.1.2).