Minimum requirements for according a date of filing 

The EPO examines applications to determine whether they meet the minimum requirements for according a date of filing (since this occurs before the examining division assumes responsibility, this check is carried out by the Receiving Section). These requirements are satisfied where the documents filed contain:

an indication that a European patent is sought; 
information identifying the applicant or allowing the applicant to be contacted; and 
a description or reference to a single previous application. 

It is not necessary that the applicant provide any claims in order to obtain a date of filing. If the application is filed without claims, but satisfies all requirements for obtaining a date of filing, the applicant will be requested to provide at least one claim later according to Rules 57(c) and 58 (see A‑III, 15).

Where the description is filed by reference to a previously filed application (see A‑II,, the reference must contain the following information in order for the application to qualify for a filing date according to Rule 40(2):

the filing date of the previous application 
its file number 
the office where it was filed 
an indication that this reference replaces the description and any drawings. 

To be accorded a date of filing, these documents do not have to meet any particular requirements as to form or presentation. It is essential, however, that the documents be sufficiently legible to enable the information to be discerned.

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