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Guidelines for Examination

 
 

1. General

The results of the search will be recorded in a search report. A number of different possible limitations of the scope of the search report exist. These are:

(i)
where claims are deemed abandoned for non-payment of claims fees (Rule 45(3), see B‑III, 3.4);
(ii)
a declaration replacing the search report according to Rule 63 (see B‑VIII);
(iii)
an incomplete search report according to Rule 63 and/or Rule 62a (see B‑VIII);
(iv)
a partial European search report due to a finding of a lack of unity according to Rule 64(1); and
(v)
a supplementary European search report according to Art. 153(7) may be incomplete for the reasons given in (i) or (iii) or may be replaced by a declaration according to (ii) (in the case of unpaid claims fees for a supplementary European search, Rule 162(4) applies).

The search reports of types (i) - (iii), (and (v) (insofar as only (i) - (iii) apply) are transmitted to the applicant, published and serve as a basis for the examination by the Examining Division. A partial search report according to Rule 64(1) (case (iv) above), however, is only transmitted to the applicant, but is made available for inspection in the public part of the examination file according to Art. 128(4).

Subject to the exceptions mentioned in B‑XI, 7, European search reports and supplementary European search reports are accompanied by a search opinion, where the Search Division gives an opinion on whether the application and the invention to which it relates seem to satisfy the requirements of the EPC (see B‑XI, 1.1). Together, the European search report or supplementary European search report and the search opinion constitute the extended European search report (EESR).

The Search Division is responsible for drawing up the European search report. It is also responsible for drafting international search reports and search reports on behalf of the industrial property offices of certain Contracting States (see B‑X, 2 and B‑II, 4.4 to 4.6).

This chapter contains the information which is necessary to enable the examiner to correctly prepare the search report.

A search report must contain no matter, in particular no expressions of opinion, reasoning, arguments or explanations, other than that required by the form or referred to in B‑III, 1.1 and 1.2, or B‑X, 9.2.8. However, this does not apply to the search opinion (see B‑XI, 3).

References

Rule 62(1)