3.4.1 Purpose of the duty to provide reasons

R. 111(2) EPC (formerly R. 68(2) EPC 1973) embodies the general principle of law that decisions must be reasoned and states: "Decisions of the European Patent Office which are open to appeal shall be reasoned …". This principle is intended to ensure fairness between the EPO and parties to proceedings and enable the decision to be reviewed on appeal (T 70/02). The EPO can only properly issue a decision against a party if that decision is adequately reasoned (T 652/97). In T 292/90 the board found that the reasoning given in a decision open to appeal has to enable the appellants and the board of appeal to examine whether the decision was justified or not. In T 265/03, and in T 1356/05 and T 1360/05, both referring to T 278/00 (OJ 2003, 546), the boards held that also from the point of view of the practical functioning of the system envisaged in the EPC, they could not examine the appeal in the absence of a reasoned decision.

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