Monday, November 22, 2010

Changes in requirements at the EPO

Within an article on Mondaq about changes of requirements at the EPO:

--> As to disclosure of prior art:

There are two parts to the new information disclosure requirements:

During examination of a patent application, the EPO will be able to require the applicant to provide details of prior art cited by other Patent Offices on corresponding applications. A non-extendable two month period will be set for response. Our understanding is that this information will be requested on individual cases rather than as a routine measure.
An applicant claiming priority for a European Patent application will be obliged to file a copy of the results of any search carried out on the priority application(s). The copy of the search results submitted must be a copy of the official document issued by the relevant Patent Office, which may be a search report or an examination report. The citations are not required.

--> As to response to the "written opinion" arising from a PCT application:

It is now mandatory to respond to the written opinion accompanying a search report on a European patent application by the following deadlines:

For direct European applications, by the deadline for requesting examination (six months from publication of the search report).
For the European Regional Phase of PCT applications for which the EPO was not the International Searching Authority, within a deadline set after the supplementary search report and written opinion are issued. In general, the EPO has set a six-month period for this.
For European regional phase applications for which the EPO was the ISA or IPEA, within a one-month period set shortly after entry into the European regional phase. Under a further rule change coming into effect on 1st May 2011, this period is to be changed to six months. The change will not apply to communications issued before that date.
Any voluntary amendments must also be filed by these deadlines. Later voluntary amendments can only be made with the Examiner's consent.


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