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Guidelines for Examination

 
 
2.1
Applications containing missing parts of description and/or drawings filed under Rule 56 EPC or Rule 20 PCT

If the Receiving Section decided not to re-date the application under Rule 56(2) or (5), but the search examiner is of the opinion that the subsequently filed missing parts are not "completely contained" in the priority document and/or the requirements of Rule 56(3) are not fulfilled, he should carry out the search also taking into account prior art which might become relevant for assessing novelty and inventive step of the subject-matter claimed if the application were re-dated pursuant to Rule 56(2) or (5). The search opinion must include a warning that the application seems not to fulfil the requirements laid down in Rule 56 for maintaining the accorded date of filing, a statement of reasons as to why this is the case and an indication that a formal decision as to whether to re-date the application will be taken at a later stage by the Examining Division. If appropriate, the search opinion may also include comments about the effect of re-dating on the priority claim and/or the status of the prior art documents cited in the search report.

The procedure for a Euro-PCT application is similar to that set out above. If when carrying out a supplementary European search the examiner finds that the subsequently filed missing parts are not "completely contained" in the priority document, despite the fact that the Receiving Office did not re-date the application under Rule 20.5(d) PCT, the search opinion must include a warning that the application seems not to comply with the requirements of Rule 20.6 PCT (Rule 82ter.1(c) PCT), a statement of reasons as to why this is the case and an indication that a formal decision as to whether to re-date the application will be taken at a later stage by the Examining Division.

However, if the application has been re-dated by the Receiving Section or receiving Office, but the search examiner has reasons to believe that the application meets the requirements of Rule 56(3) (or Rule 20.6 PCT), he must indicate in the search opinion that decisions given by the Receiving Section (or the receiving Office) may be reconsidered at a later stage by the Examining Division, except where the latter is bound by a decision of the Board of Appeal.