3.1. Rule 71(3) EPC communication: the text for approval

New R. 71 EPC reinstates the pre-2002 practice concerning changes to the text intended for grant suggested by the examining divisions. The new text of R. 71(3) EPC (R. 51(4) EPC 1973), which entered into force on 1 April 2012, reads as follows: "Before the examining division decides to grant the European patent, it shall inform the applicant of the text in which it intends to grant it and of the related bibliographic data. In this communication the examining division shall invite the applicant to pay the fee for grant and publishing and to file a translation of the claims in the two official languages of the European Patent Office other than the language of the proceedings within four months."

Thus once the examining division has decided that a patent can be granted it must inform the applicant of the text on the basis of which it intends to do so. Under the new regime, this text may include amendments and corrections made by the examining division on its own initiative which it can reasonably expect the applicant to accept. (Guidelines C-V, 1).

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