Quick Navigation

 

Guidelines for Examination

 
 
6.12
Copy of the search results for the priority or priorities 

An applicant claiming priority within the meaning of Art. 87 must file a copy of the results of any search carried out by the authority with which the priority application was filed together with the European patent application, in the case of a Euro-PCT application on entry into the European phase, or without delay after such results have been made available to him. This requirement also applies to priority claims which are subsequently withdrawn or lapse and to priority claims introduced or corrected after the filing date (see A-III, 6.5.1 and 6.5.2). The obligation under Rule 141(1) exists as long as the application is pending before the EPO. This requirement applies to all European and Euro-PCT applications filed on or after 1 January 2011 (OJ EPO 2009, 585). In the case of divisional applications, the relevant date is that on which the divisional application was received by the EPO (see A-IV, 1.2.1), not the filing date of the parent application. Where the copy is not provided to the EPO before the Examining Division assumes responsibility, the procedure is as set out in C-II, 5, and III, 5.

Where multiple priorities are claimed, the copy of the search results referred to above must be provided for all applications claimed as priority. If the search results are not drawn up in an official language of the EPO, no translation is required. The copy of the search results submitted must be a copy of the official document issued by the office where the priority was filed. A simple listing of the prior art drawn up by the applicant will not suffice. Copies of the cited documents do not have to be provided (see the Notice from the EPO dated 28 July 2010, OJ EPO 2010, 410).

The copy referred to in Rule 141(1) is deemed to be duly filed if it is available to the EPO and is to be included in the file of the European patent application under the conditions determined by the President. According to the Decision of the President dated 5 October 2010, OJ EPO 2010, 600, for the time being these exceptions are not based on an agreement with the national patent offices, but are limited to cases where a search report of the following type was drawn up by the EPO on an application whose priority is claimed:

(i)
European search report (Art. 92)
(ii)
international search report (Art. 15(1) PCT)
(iii)
international-type search report (Art. 15(5) PCT)
(iv)
search report prepared on behalf of a national office on a national application (Belgium, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Turkey). 

Furthermore, according to the DecisionDecisions of the President dated 9 December 2010, OJ EPO 2011, 62, and 19 September 2012, OJ EPO 2012, 540, the EPO includes in the file of a European patent application a copy of the search results referred to in Rule 141(1), thus exempting the applicant from filing said copy, where the priority of a first filing made in one of the following states is claimed:

– 
Japan 
– 
United Kingdom 
– 
United States of America 
Austria.

Furthermore, for divisional applications, where the results of the search on the claimed priority have already been provided in respect of the parent application, the applicant need not provide them again in respect of the divisional application (see the Notice from the EPO dated 28 July 2010, OJ EPO 2010, 410).