Correction of errors in decisions under Rule 140 must be clearly distinguished from correction of errors in documents filed by the applicant (or patentee) pursuant to Rule 139. For the latter, see A‑V, 3, and H‑VI, 2 and sub-sections. Correction of errors made by the applicant (or patentee) in application (or patent) documents cannot be arrived at in a roundabout manner through correction of the decision to grant (or to maintain in amended form).
Correction of a decision is allowable only if the text of the decision is manifestly other than intended by the department concerned. An error in the text of the patent that forms the basis for the decision cannot be imputed to the division by suggesting that the division did not intend to make a decision that in fact included the very text approved by the applicant (or patent proprietor) himself as a means of bringing the error within the ambit of Rule 140. Thus only linguistic errors, errors of transcription and obvious mistakes in decisions can be corrected. The correction of a mistake in a decision under Rule 140 has a retrospective effect (see T 212/88). Therefore, when the decision to be corrected is the refusal of the application or the revocation of the patent, the time limit for filing a notice of opposition or an appeal is not changed by the publication or the notification of the corrected decision.
Hence, even during opposition (or appeal) proceedings, the examining division is competent to correct errors in bibliographic data contained in the decision to grant (see H‑VI, 3.3). Examining or opposition divisions are competent to correct errors in the text of the patent that was the subject of their respective decisions, including editing/formatting errors (see H‑VI, 3.3).