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Electronic Documents from the EPO - extra care needed

When the European Patent Office (EPO) is satisfied that a European patent application meets the requirements for grant of a patent, it issues a copy of the proposed text of the patent to the applicant for approval. The approved text is known by the German term “Druckexemplar”. The EPO’s eventual goal is full electronic processing of applications, and one step towards that objective that has been taken is the creation of the Druckexemplar by scanning or conversion from the original text submitted by the applicant.

It has become apparent that there are possible problems with the typographical accuracy of the electronic Druckexemplar. Where the new electronic Druckexemplar is scanned or converted from the original, conversion errors may occur in the text. Even if errors were caused entirely by data-processing undertaken by the EPO, it is the responsibility of the applicant to identify any such errors and request that they be corrected. If errors are noticed after the text has been approved, they cannot be corrected.

This means that it more important than ever to check the proposed text for the European patent very carefully indeed, before giving approval of it. This applies to all cases, but especially to those that contain scientific or mathematical symbols or other characters or formatting that might be corrupted during file conversion.

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