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Guidelines for Examination

 
 
9.2.6
Potentially conflicting patent documents 

Any patent document bearing a filing or priority date earlier than the filing date of the application searched (not the priority date – see B-VI, 3 and B-XI, 4) but published later than that date and the content of which would constitute prior art relevant to novelty (Art. 54(1)) should be indicated by the letter "E". Where the patent document and the application searched have the same date (see G-IV, 5.4), the patent document should also be identified by the letter "E". An exception is made for patent documents based on the claimed priority under consideration; these documents should not be cited;