GL E III 8.7.1 General principles

The requirement of Rule 49(8) that the description, claims and abstract, as well as the request for grant, must be typed or printed in principle extends to documents replacing application documents and to amended patent specification documents (see also A‑III, 3.2).[Rules 50(1); 86; ]
Responsibility for formally correct submissions and, in particular, for compliance with Rule 49(8) lies with the applicant/proprietor.
It is to be noted that deletions, correction of the numbering of the figures and insertion of reference numbers and associated arrows in drawings are considered as typewritten amendments.
If the document to be amended contains numbered paragraphs, amended replacement paragraphs may be submitted. In such cases it is not necessary to supply entire amended pages.
In order to assist the parties, including parties using their own laptops or other electronic devices, the EPO provides technical facilities that allow for compliance with the formal requirements, in particular computers equipped with a word processor and a printer, network printers and copiers enabling documents to be printed from a USB stick, and internet access in public areas via a public wireless network (see OJ EPO 2013, 603).
Parties are recommended to bring electronic copies of documents likely to be amended, on a medium free of computer viruses or malware.
Published patent applications and specifications are made available via the European publication server.
In examination, the formal requirement of Rule 49(8) applies to documents submitted during oral proceedings as well. Documents containing handwritten amendments will normally be accepted by the division as a basis for discussion during oral proceedings until agreement is reached on the final text of the patent. However, a final decision granting a patent may be taken only on the basis of documents which are formally compliant.
For opposition proceedings, two situations have to be distinguished:
(i)In written proceedings, a final decision on the documents on the basis of which the patent is to be maintained may be taken only on the basis of formally compliant documents. 
(ii)For oral proceedings, Rule 82(2), third sentence, provides for one exception to the principle that a decision determining the final text of the patent may be based only on formally compliant documents. Pursuant to this provision, in oral opposition proceedings, the patent proprietor is by way of exception not required to file documents compliant with Rule 49(8) prior to the interlocutory decision on the documents on the basis of which the patent is to be maintained. He may choose to submit a formally compliant version of the amended text only within the time limit under Rule 82(2) (OJ EPO 2016, A22). The parties will nevertheless be encouraged to file documents compliant with Rule 49(8) during oral opposition proceedings.

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EPC Implementing Rules

EPO Guidelines - A Formalities Examination

EPO Guidelines - E General Procedural Matters

Offical Journal of the EPO

own subtype: guidelines