2.2. Completion of the internal decision-making process

According to G 12/91 (OJ 1994, 285) the point in time at which a decision enters into force, i.e. the moment it is pronounced or notified, is not the last moment at which parties could still submit observations. This had to be done at an earlier point in the proceedings to allow the decision-making department time to deliberate and then issue its decision based on the parties' submissions. Where oral proceedings are held, this moment is the closing of the debate, this point being fixed by the decision-making department – having first heard the parties' submissions – to allow itself time to consider its decision (see J 42/89; T 762/90 and T 595/90, OJ 1994, 695). In the case of decisions taken following written proceedings, the point in time at which the internal decision-making process was completed was the date on which the formalities section handed over the date-stamped, post-dated decision to the EPO postal service. This marks the completion of proceedings before the decision-making department, which can no longer amend its decision. This point in time should be clearly indicated in the decision.

In T 2573/11 the board decided that if it was clearly indicated in the decision on which date the formalities section handed the decision over to the EPO postal service, this date was thus the date on which written proceedings before the decision-making department were completed.

In T 798/95 the board held that a request for amendment filed after the completion of the proceedings up to grant before an examining division was to be disregarded even if the filing of the request and the completion of the proceedings occurred on the same date.

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