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2.13.6 Matters of Form

Date Published

Note: The formality considerations outlined below do not apply to PCT applications that have entered the national phase.  For these applications, examiners should refer to Formality Requirements and Formalities Check.

After filing, COG will check each application for compliance with the formality requirements of the Regulations and issue a direction under reg 3.2A if necessary. Thus, most cases received by examiners will have already been placed in order, where required.  Further information regarding formal requirements is provided in 2.29 Formalities and Forms.

A direction under reg 3.2A is concerned with formality requirements only and does not allow for amending the complete specification. Although an applicant may respond to a reg 3.2A direction using the provisions of sec 104 to amend the specification, the normal response to a reg 3.2A direction is the filing of substitute pages. If examiners notice during examination that the substitute pages include changes in the disclosure or meaning, then an objection should be taken that:

  • the substitute documents differ in disclosure or meaning from the original document, specifying the differences; and
  • since reg 3.2A does not provide for the substitution of documents that incorporate changes in disclosure or meaning, the particular differences involved should be formally proposed as amendments under sec 104, or substitute pages that do not incorporate those changes should be filed.

However, if the changes are such as to result in the specification contravening the requirements of sec 102(1) (see 2.23.8 Allowability Under Section 102(1)), the examination report should include the matters above, plus a statement to the effect that the specification as intended to be corrected under reg 3.2A does not comply with the requirements of sec 102(1). Examination should only be conducted to the extent possible on those claims that define allowable subject matter as outlined in Section 102(1) Examination Practice, Reporting on Amendments Not Allowable Under Section102(1).

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