Minutes have an important function as evidence of respect for the right to be heard (Art. 113(1)). They must contain the essentials of the oral proceedings and the relevant statements made by the parties, together with arguments relevant to the decision and not contained in the parties' written submissions. Details of the arguments raised by the parties, however, are developed in the decision, and therefore are only briefly reported in the minutes.
Relevant statements are, for example, new or amended procedural submissions or the withdrawal thereof, the fresh submission or amendment or withdrawal of application documents, such as claims, description and drawings, and statements of surrender.
The essentials of the oral proceedings include new statements by the party or parties and by the member or members of the department concerning the subject-matter of the proceedings. In examination and opposition proceedings, the essentials are principally new statements arguing the presence or lack of novelty, inventive step and other patentability criteria. The minutes are not, however, expected to be an exhaustive recollection of everything that was said during the oral proceedings. Rather, they are limited to the essentials and are as brief and concise as possible.
Vague or general statements are to be avoided. Also, care must be taken to ensure that statements crucial to the decision are correctly recorded. Although this is normally not necessary, in case of doubt the record of such statements is read out to the parties concerned before the decision is taken and announced. If new facts or evidence are submitted during the oral proceedings, the minutes must make clear that the division has examined them under Art. 114(1). They must also indicate whether or not the division, after having heard the parties, subsequently disregarded them under Art. 114(2).
The minutes briefly summarise the following elements, where present:
The minutes conclude by indicating the decision taken by the division or, if no final decision is taken, the outcome of the proceedings. This part is preceded by a record of the parties' final requests as indicated in point (b) above.
The minutes must also contain procedural information, such as how the proceedings are to be continued after closure of the oral proceedings or whether the public was excluded for the whole or part of the oral proceedings.
The structure of the minutes mirrors the course of oral proceedings (see E‑III, 8 and sub-points).
If a decision is given (see E‑III, 9), it must be reproduced in the minutes.
The minutes with the result reached during the proceedings are communicated to the parties as soon as possible.