The President of the European Patent Office, having regard to Rules 53(2) and 163(2) of the European Patent Convention (EPC), has decided as follows:
Inclusion of a copy of the previous application in the file of a European patent application
(1) At the request of the applicant, the European Patent Office shall include free of charge in the file of a European patent application a copy of the previous application from which priority is claimed retrieved via the WIPO Digital Access Service using the indicated access code.
(2) If the applicant has not filed a request under paragraph 1 or if the European Patent Office is unable to retrieve a copy of the previous application via the WIPO Digital Access Service, the European Patent Office shall include free of charge in the file of a European patent application a copy of the previous application from which priority is claimed if the previous application is:
(a) a European patent application,
(b) an international application filed with the European Patent Office as receiving Office under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT),
(c) a Chinese patent or utility model application,
(d) a Korean patent or utility model application,
(e) a United States provisional or non-provisional patent application.
Information to the applicant
(1) As soon as the European Patent Office has included in the file of the European patent application a copy of the previous application as provided for under Article 1(2), it shall inform the applicant accordingly, unless the previous application is a European patent application or an international application filed with the European Patent Office as receiving office under the PCT.
(2) If a copy of the previous application cannot be included in the file, it shall not be deemed duly filed under Rule 53(2) EPC. The European Patent Office shall inform the applicant accordingly in good time and give him an opportunity to file the copy subsequently in accordance with Rule 53(1) EPC.
Articles 1 and 2 shall also apply to international applications entering the European phase before the European Patent Office as designated or elected Office (Rule 163(2) EPC).
Previous decisions superseded
When this decision enters into force, the decision dated 18 October 2018 on the filing of priority documents (OJ EPO 2018, A78) shall cease to have effect.
Entry into force
This decision shall enter into force on 1 July 2020.
Done at Munich, 31 March 2020
Date retrieved: 19 May 2021