Applicants for a European patent are now required to supply additional information to the European Patent Office (EPO) following the introduction of new Rules on 1 January 2011.
If a European patent application claims priority from an earlier patent application it is now compulsory to supply the EPO with the results of any patent office searches carried out on the priority application.
The search results must be supplied on filing of the European application or on regional phase entry for European designated PCT applications. Where the search results are issued after the filing of the European patent application, they must be filed with the EPO as soon as possible after they become available. The onus to provide the search results of priority documents remains while the European patent application is pending.
If they are not supplied, the EPO will request the applicant to file a copy of the search results. However many priority applications are not searched so there will be no patent office search report. In this situation the response to the request can be a statement indicating that no search was carried out.
If you wish to discuss this matter further or are affected by these new rules please contact Wynnes.