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Guidelines for Examination

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 physical requirements specified in Rule 49 also apply to any translation referred to in Art. 14(2) or Rule 40(3) (Rule 49(1)). The Receiving Section should therefore not draw the attention of the applicant to any deficiencies under Rule 46(2)(i) or (j) or question whether tables included in the claims meet the requirements of Rule 49(9). If the Receiving Section finds that application documents, as filed or as amended, fail to meet said physical requirements to the above-mentioned extent, it invites the applicant to remedy this deficiency within a two-month period (Rule 58). If this deficiency is not remedied in due time, the application is refused under Art. 90(5).

In the event of deficiencies under Rule 30, the Receiving Section must invite the applicant to remedy them within a 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 28 April 2011, OJ EPO 2011, 376; see also A-IV, 5).

Once the application is transferred to it, the Examining Division assumes responsibility for formal matters, and should pay particular attention to the more technical requirements of Rule 46 and Rule 49 including particularly 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). The particular requirements for drawings are dealt with in A-IX. With regard to the more technical requirements, 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. As indicated in A-VIII, 2.2, replacement documents 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.

Any handwritten amendments must be clearly legible and should preferably be accompanied by a clean, typed version (see, however, H-III, 2.2). Particular attention should be paid to the following:

The amendment is written using individual block letters, the size of which is large enough and the colour of which is intense enough to ensure reliable reproduction. 
The space between the lines of printed text is large enough to ensure legibility of any handwritten amendment placed there. 
The amendment is not placed in the 1 cm margin which must be kept free of writing all round the sheet to prevent it from being overlaid during scanning. 

If the requirements of Rules 46 and 49 are not met, the applicant is invited to remedy this deficiency within a 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 Article 1, item 1, of the Decision of the President of the EPO dated 12 July 2007, Special edition No. 3, OJ EPO 2007, F.2, and the further amendments in the Decision of the President dated 11 May 2010, OJ EPO 2010, 350).