3.3.1 General considerations

Where a European application does not derive from an earlier international application, the applicant may not amend the claims before receiving the European search report (Rule 137(1)). Consequently, in these cases, the search is directed to the claims as originally filed, in the European application, or to the set of claims filed according to Rule 57(c) or 58.

If the application documents used for the search contain missing parts of description and/or missing drawings filed under Rule 56(3) (see H‑IV, 2.3.2) and the examiner expects the application to be re-dated by the Examining Division at a later stage of the procedure (see C‑III, 1), he should extend the scope of the search, such as also to cover prior art which will be relevant for assessing the novelty and inventive step of the subject-matter claimed on the basis of a possible new date of filing of the application (see also B‑XI, 2.1). The same applies to Euro-PCT applications when the application contains missing parts of the description, drawings or claims and/or missing elements filed under Rule 20.6 PCT.

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