Art. 34(2) gives the applicant the right to communicate orally with the IPEA. Thus, requests for telephone calls from applicants or agents (including those overseas) should be granted, but only after a written response to the WO-ISA and if applicable to an invitation to pay additional fees (Form 405) (in the case of lack of unity) has been filed. In that way, the subject-matter to be discussed in the telephone conversation is clarified upfront. Requests for personal interviews are not granted. However, if an applicant requests a personal interview, the examiner should contact him by phone to inform him that it is the EPO's policy not to grant personal interviews, but that the matter can be discussed in the form of a telephone consultation.
If the applicant has requested a telephone consultation the following applies:
OJ EPO 2011, 532
When a telephone consultation is arranged, the matters for discussion should be clearly stated in advance. If the arrangement is made by telephone, the examiner should record the particulars and briefly indicate in the file (Form 428: minutes of telephone conversation) the matters to be discussed as well as the date and time for the consultation. A copy of the arrangements recorded is sent to the applicant.
If the applicant wishes to discuss amended claims during a telephone consultation, a copy of such claims should be sent in advance to the examiner in order to enable appropriate preparation. The time limit for such submissions will be set by the examiner on the record of the arrangement.
The result of the telephone consultation is recorded by the examiner and added to the file. The recording will depend upon the nature of the matters under discussion and will be forwarded to the applicant.
If the consultation replaces the second written opinion or takes place after a reply to a second written opinion but has ended with an agreement on amendments, Form 428 will include:
If the consultation takes place after a reply to a second written opinion and no agreement has been reached, the applicant is informed that his arguments will be taken into account when establishing the IPER.
Enquiries as to the processing of files may be filed online using the dedicated form (EPO Form 1012) (see the Notice from the EPO dated 2 August 2016, OJ EPO 2016, A66).