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Guidelines for Examination


3.2 Documents making up the application, replacement documents, translations

It is the responsibility of the Receiving Section to ensure that the documents making up the application, i.e. request, description, claims, drawings and abstract, meet the requirements of Rule 49(2) to (9) and (12) and, with regard to drawings, the requirements of Rule 46, to the extent necessary for the purpose of a reasonably uniform publication of the application under Rule 68(1). The Receiving Section should therefore not draw the attention of the applicant to any deficiencies related to the content of the application, namely those under Rule 46(2)(i) or (j) or 49(9).

With regard to those requirements in relation to which some technical knowledge may be needed, such as those of Rule 46(2)(f) and (h), the Receiving Section should, in case of doubt, consult and take the advice of the Search Division. The Receiving Section should also consider taking action when the Search Division draws its attention to a deficiency which it had overlooked. It should be noted that, in accordance with Rule 46(3), flow sheets and diagrams are to be considered as drawings.

Once the Examining Division assumes responsibility for the application, it also becomes responsible for formal matters. It should pay particular attention to the more technical requirements of Rule 46 and Rule 49, including in particular the above-mentioned requirements under Rule 46(2)(i) and (j) and Rule 49(9) and those laid down in Rule 49(10) and (11).

Replacement documents, including the amendment of granted patents (Rule 86), and translations in an official language of documents filed under the provisions of Art. 14(2) or (4) are subject to the same requirements as the documents making up the application. As a consequence, they must be typed or printed. Submissions containing handwritten amendments to application or patent specification documents are formally deficient and need to be corrected (see OJ EPO 2013, 603).

If the requirements of Rules 46 and 49 are not met, the applicant is invited to remedy this deficiency within a non-extendable two-month period (Rule 58 and Rule 50(1)). If this deficiency is not remedied in due time, the application is refused (Art. 90(5)). In examination proceedings this task is carried out by the formalities officer on behalf of the Examining Division (see the Decision of the President of the EPO dated 12 December 2013, OJ EPO 2014, A6).

In the event of deficiencies under Rule 30, the Receiving Section must invite the applicant to remedy them within a non-extendable two-month period. If this deficiency is not remedied in due time, the application is refused by the Receiving Section under Rule 30(3) (see Decision of the President of the EPO dated 28 April 2011, OJ EPO 2011, 372 and the Notice from the EPO dated 18 October 2013, OJ EPO 2013, 542; see also A‑IV, 5).

The particular requirements for drawings are dealt with in A‑IX.