The European Patent Office (EPO) has started a programme for providing additional information with respect to the search performed by an Examiner.

The additional information will be provided on an extra sheet called “Information on Search Strategy” and is for information only.

1. Content of the information sheet
The information sheet will contain details about the databases in which the Examiner has conducted the prior art search, the classification symbols defining the extent of the search (for example IPC or CPC classes), and the keywords selected by the Examiner, or further elements relating to the invention to be searched and used to retrieve the relevant prior art.

2. When is the information sheet generated?

This supplementary information sheet will be annexed to all search reports drawn up by the EPO under the PCT and EP procedures. No specific request will be necessary to obtain this information.

3. Where can the information sheet be found?
The supplementary information sheet will be made available upon publication of the search report via file inspection in the European Patent Register or, in case of PCT applications, via PATENTSCOPE file inspection of the WIPO.

4. What could be the benefit of the information sheet?

The information sheet may help to understand the search strategy of the Examiner of the EPO. Thus a person, for example an applicant or third party, may adapt its his own search strategy based on the information obtained from the EPO, for example prior to filing own patent applications or for finding additional prior art.

This new practice started on 1 November 2015 and will be re-evaluated at the end of 2016.

This is only a rough overview about the new practice of the EPO. For more details or any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

Contact: Jacob Klinkisch

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