Correction of errors in decisions and related application and patent documents
Correction of errors in decisions must be clearly distinguished from correction of errors in documents filed by the applicant (or patentee) pursuant to Rule 139. For the latter, see A‑V, 3, and H‑VI, 2 and sub-sections. Correction of errors made by the applicant (or patentee) in application (or patent) documents cannot be arrived at in a roundabout manner through correction of the decision to grant (or maintain in amended form).
Correction of a decision is allowable only if the text of the decision is manifestly other than intended by the department concerned. Thus only linguistic errors, errors of transcription and obvious mistakes in decisions can be corrected. The correction of a mistake in a decision under Rule 140 has a retrospective effect (see T 212/88). Therefore, when the decision to be corrected is the refusal of the application or the revocation of the patent, the limit date for filing an appeal is not changed by the corrected decision.
Hence, even during opposition proceedings, the examining division is competent for correcting errors in bibliographic data contained in the decision to grant (see H-VI, 3.2) or errors in the text of the patent, including editing/formatting errors (see H-VI, 3.3).
In accordance with the Decision of the President of the EPO dated 23 November 2015 (OJ EPO 2015, A104), requests for the correction of errors in bibliographic data are dealt with by formalities officers.