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Date Published

Case notes are an important means of recording and communicating information on a file.  Improper use of case notes (or a lack thereof) can cause confusion and errors.  A case note must be added when something of significance occurs that is not recorded elsewhere on the file.  For any situation not already explicitly recorded, the default presumption is that a case note should be made.  Where information is merely being relayed to the applicant or attorney, for example re-sending a document, then a case note can be made but it is not necessary.  If examiners are in any doubt about whether to add a case note, they should consult a senior examiner or supervising examiner.

When to Add a Case Note

A case note should be added when:

  • a change is made to the data on the case for reasons that are not immediately obvious from the documents already on file.
  • information needs to be conveyed to someone else who will subsequently deal with the case.

When Not to Add a Case Note

A case note should not:

  • be used as an addendum to a reported decision, e.g. additional comments made about the acceptance of an application.
  • be used to foreshadow a decision that is intended to be made a later stage.
  • be used as an intermediate stage in a decision process.
  • make any comments that do not directly affect, or are not relevant to, the patent or application.

Case Note Content

Case notes should convey all relevant information clearly and succinctly and include:

  • the relevant background details;
  • the situation that prompted the case note; and
  • how the situation was dealt with.

Case notes should be added to the file using the procedures outlined in Add a File Note to the Ecase.

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