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Guidelines for Examination

 
 

3.3 Certified copy of the previous application (priority document)

The certified copy of the previous application, i.e. the priority document, must be filed within 16 months of the priority date (see A‑III, 6.7, for Euro-PCT cases see, however, E‑VIII, 2.3.5), unless such a copy is already on file because it has been supplied in the context of Rule 40(3), see A‑II, 4.1.3.1, or of a request pursuant to Rule 56, see A‑II, 5.4.3.

Moreover, in accordance with Rule 53(2) and the Decision of the President of the EPO dated 9 August 2012, OJ EPO 2012, 492, the EPO will include a copy of the previous application in the file of the European patent application without charging a fee, if the previous application is:

(i)
a European patent application; 
(ii)
an international application filed with the EPO as receiving Office under the PCT; 
(iii)
a Chinese patent or utility model application; 
(iv)
a Japanese patent or utility model application; 
(v)
a United States provisional or non-provisional patent application; or 
(vi)
a Korean patent or utility model application. 

No request is necessary to this end. However, as regards Chinese patent or utility model applications, this applies only if these were filed on or after 3 September 2012. If the previous application is a United States application, please see the Notice from the European Patent Office dated 27 June 2007 concerning practical aspects of the electronic exchange of priority documents between the EPO and the USPTO (OJ EPO 2007, 473). As soon as the EPO has included in the file of the European patent application a copy of the previous application, it informs the applicant accordingly.