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OBLIGATION TO GIVE INFORMATION ON PRIOR ART FOR EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION/ EURO-PCT APPLICATION FROM 1ST JANUARY 2011

Under amended Rule 141(1) EPC, an applicant claiming priority of a previous application within the meaning of Article 87 EPC has to file a copy of the results of any search carried out by or on behalf of the authority with which the previous application(s) was/were filed (= office of first filing (OFF)) together with the European patent application or, in the case of a Euro-PCT application, on entry into the European phase. Therefore, when providing us with instructions to file European patent application or entering Euro-PCT application before EPO, claiming priority of an earlier national, regional or international application, please provide us also at the same time with information on prior art issued by the authority where the previous application was filed. When not yet available, please provide us that prior art information as soon as possible once they become available. When the previous application is a US provisional application for example and that no search will be established for this previous application, please provide us with a statement that the results of the search are not available and will not become available. Rule 141(1) EPC applies to all European patent applications claiming priority. Where multiple priorities are claimed, the applicant has to file copies of the OFF search results drawn up in respect of all previous applications concerned. The applicant’s obligation under amended Rule 141(1) EPC covers search results in whatever form or format they are drawn up by the OFF (e.g. search report, listing of cited prior art, relevant part of the examination report). The copy of the search results submitted must be a copy of...