Subsequent to the applicant's approval in response to the Rule 71(3) communication (see C‑V, 2), the examining division may resume the examination procedure at any time up to the moment the decision to grant is handed over to the EPO's internal postal service for transmittal to the applicant (see G 12/91). This will seldom occur, but may be necessary if e.g. the applicant files further prior art which necessitates further substantive examination, if the examining division becomes aware of very relevant prior art following observations by third parties under Art. 115, if the applicant files amendments or corrections (having already approved the text), or if the examining division becomes aware in some other way of circumstances which are such as to cause the subject-matter claimed to fail to comply with the EPC.[Rule 71a(2); ]
The resumption of examination after approval is subject to the same considerations as where examination is resumed due to amendments filed in the Rule 71(3) period (see C‑V, 4.7.1). The next action issued after resumption of the examination procedure must however indicate the fact that the proceedings have been resumed as well as the substantive reasons that led to the resumption of examination. In particular, the applicant's right to comment (Art. 113(1)), his right to at least one communication under Art. 94(3) and Rule 71(1) and Rule 71(2) in examination proceedings (see C‑III, 4) and his right to oral proceedings on request (Art. 116(1)) must be respected.
Date retrieved: 30 December 2018