OJ EPO 2013, 603 - Notice from the European Patent Office dated 8 Novem ber 2013 concerning application of Rules 49 and 50 EPC to handwritten amendments

The European Patent Office (EPO) is working towards processing European patent applications and oppositions completely electronically, and to further improving the quality of its publications. In that context, it is introducing a sys tem to produce the Druckexemplar (text intended for publication) electronically. This means it must be able to capture submitted documents electronically in such a way that it can deal with them using textprocessing software which however is not possible for handwritten amendments.

Rule 49 EPC already requires the description, claims and abstract to be typed or printed; it allows exceptions only for graphic symbols and charac ters and chemical or mathematical formulae, if necessary.

With effect from 1 January 2014, the EPO will discontinue its existing practice1 and, in strict compliance with Rule 50(1) EPC in conjunction with Rule 49(8) EPC, will no longer accept handwritten amendments in documents replacing parts of the European patent application. Rule 49(8), second sen tence, EPC is not affected. The same applies mutatis mutandis to opposition proceedings (Rule 86 EPC).

1 See the Guidelines for Examination in the European Patent Office A-III, 3.2; A-VIII, 2.1; see also HIII, 2.3 (September 2013 edition).

12/2013Amtsblatt EPAOfficial Journal EPOJournal officiel OEB To amend such documents in oral pro ceedings, the EPO recommends bring ing a laptop or similar device on which the amendments can be prepared. It will also provide suitable technical or other facilities. The rooms made avail able for patent agents generally contain computers which can read CDROMs, USB sticks, etc., together with printers which normally allow documents to be printed direct from USB sticks.

The EPO recommends that parties bring electronic copies of documents likely to be amended, on a medium free of computer viruses or malware. It will also provide applicants and patent pro prietors with electronic copies of their Druckexemplar or patent specification (EPB).

12/2013Amtsblatt EPAOfficial Journal EPOJournal officiel OEBReferences: ;

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EPC Implementing Rules