Draft decisions 

In T 225/96, the contested decision had been signed by only the first examiner on the opposition division. The board sent the case back for regularisation, but the division replied that the three non-signing members were not prepared to put their names to a text issued without their knowledge or approval. The board concluded that the document sent to the parties was merely a draft. This amounted to a substantial procedural violation. Had the signatures merely been missing, this could have been corrected under R. 89 EPC 1973 (now R. 140 EPC) which allows correction of linguistic errors, errors of transcription and obvious mistakes in EPO decisions. In general, the decision as notified to the parties is presumed to be authentic. See also T 837/01.

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