Speaking to Patent Examiners

In places such as the USA and Japan, telephone interviews with the Patent Office Examiner are often useful in reaching agreement on allowable patent claims. The practice is stricter before the European Patent Office: substantive matters are to be addressed in writing, although misunderstandings or a specific point may be usefully discussed by telephone.

The ‘Guidelines for Examination’ remind applicants that telephone conversations and informal interviews with an examiner can only take place after the application has entered the examination stage: the examiner must not consent to these earlier.  Therefore it is not possible to speak to an Examiner about objections raised in the Search Opinion.  It is however possible to replace the Search Opinion with an Examination Report if the applicant waives the right, on filing, to indicate that the applicant would like to proceed further with the application.  The Examiner may then be approached for an interview when objections are first raised.


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