In substantive examination, applicants must have an opportunity of presenting their comments on all the grounds invoked against their application.
Before an application is refused by the examining division, the search under Art. 54(3) is completed (see also C‑IV, 7.1).
In opposition proceedings, if the patent is to be revoked, it must be ensured that the proprietor of the patent in particular is given sufficient opportunity to defend himself and, similarly, if the oppositions are to be rejected or if, despite the claims of the opponents, the patent is to be maintained in amended form, the opponents in particular must be given the same opportunity. A decision may be based on grounds indicated in a document from one of the parties, provided the document has been sent to the other parties so that they have had an opportunity to comment.
If more than two months have elapsed between despatch of the document "only for information" and the issue of the decision, this generally means that parties have had sufficient opportunity to comment and their right to be heard has therefore not been infringed (T 263/93).
If the patent is to be maintained in amended form, there must be a text of the claims and description which has been approved by the patent proprietor (D‑VI, 2), and the opponent(s) must have had an opportunity to comment on it.