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Guidelines for Examination

 
 
4.
Purpose of examination 

The purpose of preparing the search opinion (see B-XI) and of the subsequent examination proceedings is to ensure that the application and the invention to which it relates meet the requirements set out in the relevant Articles of the EPC and the Rules of its Implementing Regulations. The prime task of the Examining Division is to deal with the substantive requirements; the criteria by which an examiner judges whether they have been met are dealt with in detail, insofar as appears necessary, in Parts F, G and H. As for the formal requirements (see Part A), these are initially the responsibility of the Receiving Section.

The examination is to be carried out in accordance with Art. 94(3) and (4), Art. 97, Rule 71(1) to 71(7), Rule 71a(1) to 71a(6) and Rule 72. The examiner's first step is to study the description, drawings (if any) and the claims of the application. However, as the examiner will normally already have done this when he carried out the search (see B-XI, 3), he should concentrate on any amendments and/or comments filed by the applicant in response to the search opinion (see B-XI, 8). If amendments were made and these have not been identified and/or their basis in the application as filed not indicated by the applicant (see H-III, 2.1) and the application is one of those mentioned in H-III, 2.1.4, the Examining Division may send a communication according to Rule 137(4) requesting the applicant to provide this information (see H-III, 2.1.1).