European Patent Office policy when acting as IPEA for applications filed on or after 1 January 2004
It has become apparent that it may be useful to re-emphasise some aspects of current EPO policy when the EPO acts as IPEA for applications filed on or after 1 January 2004. In particular, some uncertainty exists about the way the EPO exercises its discretion with regard to further communications under Chapter II, prior to issuance of the IPER.
The information in this announcement deals exclusively with cases where the WO-ISA has been established by the EPO. In such cases the EPO, acting as IPEA, will consider the WO-ISA as the first written opinion for the purposes of international preliminary examination. Whether a further written opinion is issued before establishment of the IPER is entirely at the discretion of the EPO. However, as a rule, no second written opinion is established, in accordance with PCT ISPE Guideline 19.14. It follows that the EPO will normally proceed to the issuance of the IPER while taking into account any arguments and/or amendments duly filed by the applicant, but usually without issuing a second written opinion, even if not all objections have been overcome. It is therefore in the applicant's interest to deal as comprehensively as possible with all matters raised in the first written opinion immediately on filing his reply. Before the IPER is established, a request for a personal interview by telephone between the applicant or his representative and the EPO examiner responsible for preparing the report can be filed, preferably together with the demand and should give a clear indication of the issues the applicant wishes to discuss. While one such interview will, if requested on time, normally be granted, any further such interviews are entirely at the discretion of the examiner concerned - ISPE Guidelines 19.20.