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Guidelines for Examination

 
 
6.
Evaluation of prior art documents cited in search report and late priority claim  

As explained in A-III, 6.5.1 and 6.5.2, the applicant has the right to correct or to introduce a priority claim within 16 months of the earliest priority (with a minimum of four months from the European filing date in the case of corrections). When this happens before finalisation of the search report, the examiner may review the draft search report to take into account the change in the effective date of the application. In cases where the search report was issued on the basis of the original priority status (i.e. addition or correction of a priority claim is effected after the search report is drawn up), the primary examiner at the substantive examination stage should re-evaluate the relevance of the documents cited in the search report. Where it appears that the prior art available to the examiner is unlikely to reflect the state of the art in a sufficiently complete way for the purpose of a patentability assessment, the examiner should then conduct an additional search (see C-IV, 7.2). No further search report will be issued in these cases: the applicant will be informed of any newly-found documents in a communication pursuant to Art. 94(3) (with copies of such documents annexed to that communication).