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Examination practice in the EPO

14 February 2011

The IP Federation has sent a paper to the President of the European Patent Office, saying the following

  1. An iterative examination process will often be the best way of ensuring that the examiner fully appreciates the invention and the applicant’s aims, while the applicant has an adequate opportunity to respond to the examiner’s objections. It is the way to ensure that a high quality patent is granted. 
  2. Telephone discussions are to be encouraged and training given to examiners to help them with this.
  3. In appropriate cases, it would be good practice for the examiner to schedule a preliminary technical conversation with the applicant, to ensure that there is a common understanding of the nature and objectives of the invention.
  4. Oral proceedings should be a matter of last resort. When they are necessary, they should be conducted by video, telephone or on-line conference if requested by the applicant.
  5. The summons to oral proceedings should clearly define the issues and new objections should, in general, not be raised in oral proceedings.

 We have made the following recommendation: 

  • Examiner training should take account of these points and the Guidelines to Examination should be amplified to give them proper emphasis.

Please advise if you would like to see a copy of our paper.



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