Late-filed requests after summons to oral proceedings in examination 

If requests are filed after the final date set in accordance with Rule 116(2), they are late-filed. However, it should be borne in mind that a request filed in response to a change of the subject of the proceedings, e.g. when a further relevant document is cited for the first time during the oral proceedings, has to be admitted under Rule 116(2) (T 951/97).

The Division should first consider the requests before deciding on their admissibility. The mere fact that they are filed late is not per se a reason for not admitting them. This issue will normally be dealt with during oral proceedings.

In exercising its discretion under Rule 137(3) (see T 237/96, T 937/09), the Examining Division should take into account whether the applicant has good reasons for filing the request late. If the applicant has already had sufficient opportunity to address the objections, when balancing the relevant interests the Division may give more weight to bringing the examination procedure to a close.

Thus late-filed requests will generally be subject to the "clear allowability" criterion (see H II, 2.7.1).

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