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Articles & Updates – Details

8 October 2010

EPO Plan Improved Rule Changes

EPO Plan Improved Rule Changes

Following a recent meeting of the EPO's Committee on Patent Law, the following three proposals are to be put to the Administrative Council at the end of October 2010:

  1. Clarification of the substantive communications triggering the twenty four month period for filing voluntary divisional applications, these will be restricted to communications under Art 94(3) and Rules 71(1), (2), and (3);

    Comment: this removes the uncertainty of the present Rules which fail to specify which communications from the Examining division act as a trigger for the divisional clock.

  2. A proposal to increase the period for responding to the R161 communication to 6 months

    Comment: a significant improvement for Applicants. This change removes the substantial time pressure of the present 1 month deadline for filing detailed submissions when the EPO has acted as International Searching Authority.

  3. A proposal to clarify and improve Rule 71 to introduce a second step for cases where requests are made for amendment following a communication informing applicants of their intention to grant an application.

    Comment: this change streamlines the process for Applicants when an application is deemed to be in order by the Examiner but when the Applicant wants to make amendments and/or corrections.

The date of implementation of the proposals is not yet known but we would hope the changes will come into effect early in 2011.  We will keep you informed when this happens.

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