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Guidelines for Examination

 
 

3.3 The content of the extended European search report (EESR)

The two components of the EESR, the search report (or the declaration replacing it) and the search opinion, will indicate the reasons why it was not considered possible to conduct a meaningful search in respect of some or all of the claimed subject-matter according to Rule 63 and will indicate the subject-matter which was searched, if any, as determined according to the procedures given in B‑VIII, 3.2. Furthermore, the search opinion will also invite the applicant to limit his claims to subject-matter which has been searched (in order to comply with Rule 63(3)). The documents cited in the search report and referred to in the search opinion will relate only to this subject-matter. In the event that the subject-matter subject to the search complies with the requirements of the EPC (in particular in that it is novel, inventive and industrially applicable, but also satisfies the other requirements of the EPC such as clarity under Art. 84), the search opinion will still be negative, because the claims do not comply with the requirements of the EPC in respect of their full scope.

Furthermore, if in response to the invitation under Rule 63(1) the applicant disputes the finding that a meaningful search is not possible (see B‑VIII, 3.2), but the Search Division is not convinced by the applicant’s argumentation, it will indicate why this is the case in the search opinion, as appropriate. If necessary, it can refer directly in the search opinion to the applicant's reply.