EUROPEAN PATENT OFFICE
Information from the EPO
Decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 25 November 2022 on the presentation of application and other documents
The President of the European Patent Office (EPO), having regard to Article 10(2) of the European Patent Convention (EPC) and Rules 49(2), 50(2), 57(i) and 82(2) EPC, has decided as follows:
Form and content of the drawings
(1) On sheets containing drawings, the usable surface area shall not exceed 26.2 cm x 17 cm. The usable or used surface shall not be surrounded by frames. The minimum margins shall be as follows:
top 2.5 cm
left side 2.5 cm
right side 1.5 cm
bottom 1 cm
(2) Drawings shall be executed as follows:
(a) Drawings shall be executed without colourings in durable, black, sufficiently dense and dark, uniformly thick and well-defined lines and strokes.
(b) Cross-sections shall be indicated by hatching which should not impede the clear reading of the reference signs and leading lines.
(c) The scale of the drawings and their graphical execution shall be such that electronic or photographic reproduction with a linear reduction in size to two-thirds will allow all details to be distinguished without difficulty. If, exceptionally, the scale is given on a drawing, it shall be represented graphically.
(d) All numbers, letters, and reference signs appearing on the drawings shall be simple and clear. Brackets, circles or inverted commas shall not be used in association with numbers and letters.
(e) Generally, all lines in the drawings shall be drawn with the aid of drafting instruments.
(f) Elements of the same figure shall be proportional to one another, unless a difference in proportion is indispensable for the clarity of the figure.
(g) The height of the numbers and letters shall not be less than 0.32 cm. For the lettering of drawings, the Latin and, where customary, the Greek alphabets shall be used.
(h) The same sheet of drawings may contain several figures. Where figures drawn on two or more sheets are intended to form a single figure, the figures on the several sheets shall be so arranged that the whole figure can be assembled without concealing any part of the partial figures. The different figures shall be arranged without wasting space, preferably in an upright position, clearly separated from one another. Where the figures are not arranged in an upright position, they shall be presented sideways with the top of the figures at the left side of the sheet. The different figures shall be numbered consecutively in Arabic numerals, independently of the numbering of the sheets.
(i) Reference signs not mentioned in the description and claims shall not appear in the drawings, and vice versa. Reference signs to features shall be consistent throughout the application.
(j) The drawings shall not contain text matter. Where indispensable to understand the drawings, a few short keywords, such as "water", "steam", "open", "closed" or "section on AB", may be included. Any such keywords shall be placed in such a way that, if required, they can be replaced by their translations without interfering with any lines of the drawings.
(3) Flow sheets and diagrams shall be deemed to be drawings.
Presentation of the application documents
(1) The documents making up the application shall be presented so as to allow electronic and direct reproduction, in particular by scanning, photography, electrostatic processes, photo offset and microfilming, in an unlimited number of copies. All sheets shall be free from cracks, creases and folds. Only one side of the sheet shall be used.
(2) The documents making up the application shall be on A4 paper (29.7 cm x 21 cm) which shall be pliable, strong, white, smooth, matt and durable. Subject to paragraph 8 and Article 1, paragraph 2(h), each sheet shall be used with its short sides at the top and bottom (upright position).
(3) Each of the documents making up the application (request, description, claims, drawings and abstract) shall commence on a new sheet. The sheets shall be connected in such a way that they can easily be turned over, separated and joined together again.
(4) Subject to Article 1, paragraph 1, the minimum margins shall be as follows:
top 2 cm
left side 2.5 cm
right side 2 cm
bottom 2 cm
The recommended maximum for the margins quoted above is as follows:
top 4 cm
left side 4 cm
right side 3 cm
bottom 3 cm
(5) All the sheets contained in the application shall be numbered in consecutive Arabic numerals. These shall be centred at the top of the sheet, but not placed in the top margin.
(6) The lines of each sheet of the description and of the claims shall preferably be numbered in sets of five, the numbers appearing on the left side, to the right of the margin.
(7) The request for grant of a European patent, the description, the claims and the abstract shall be typed or printed. Only graphic symbols and characters and chemical or mathematical formulae may, if necessary, be drawn or written by hand. The typing shall be 1½ spaced. All text matter shall be in characters, the capital letters of which are not less than 0.21 cm high, and shall be in a dark, indelible colour.
(8) The request for grant of a European patent, the description, the claims and the abstract shall not contain drawings. The description, claims and abstract may contain chemical or mathematical formulae. The description and abstract may contain tables. The claims may contain tables only if their subject-matter makes the use of tables desirable. Tables and chemical or mathematical formulae may be placed sideways on the sheet if they cannot be presented satisfactorily in an upright position. Tables or chemical or mathematical formulae presented sideways shall be placed so that the tops of the tables or formulae are at the left-hand side of the sheet.
(9) Values shall be expressed in units conforming to international standards, wherever appropriate in terms of the metric system using SI units. Any data not meeting this requirement shall also be expressed in units conforming to international standards. Only the technical terms, formulae, signs and symbols generally accepted in the field in question shall be used.
(10) The terminology and the signs shall be consistent throughout the European patent application.
(11) Each sheet shall be reasonably free from erasures and shall be free from alterations. Non-compliance with this rule may be authorised if the authenticity of the content is not impugned and the requirements for good reproduction are not thereby jeopardised.
Documents other than the application documents
All documents other than those making up the application shall generally be typewritten or printed. There shall be a margin of about 2.5 cm on the left-hand side of each page.
Examination as to formal requirements
(1) The EPO shall examine, in accordance with Article 90(3) EPC and Rule 57(i) EPC, whether the requirements of Articles 1 and 2 of this decision have been complied with.
(2) The Receiving Section shall examine whether the following requirements of this decision have been complied with:
- Article 1, paragraph 1 and paragraph 2(a) to (h),
- Article 2, paragraphs 1 to 7,
- Article 2, paragraph 8, sentences 1 to 3, 5 and 6 and
- Article 2, paragraph 11.
(3) Any examination by the EPO of the requirements listed in paragraph 2 of this Article shall be limited to the extent necessary for the purpose of a satisfactory reproduction or a reasonably uniform publication of the application under Rule 68(1) EPC.
Maintenance of the European patent in amended form
The applicable requirements under Rule 82(2), third sentence, EPC shall be the requirements of Article 2, paragraph 7, of this decision.
Entry into force
This decision shall enter into force on 1 February 2023 and apply to all application and other documents filed on or after this date.
Done at Munich, 25 November 2022