In a recent decision (T 2248/16), the Technical Boards of Appeal at the EPO has again confirmed that the authentic content of a European patent is determined only by the text on which the grant decision is based. Under the current practice of the first instance, this is done by referring, in the grant decision (see attached a redacted Form 2006 A), to the documents indicated in the communication pursuant to Rule 71(3) EPC and having been approved by the applicant (“Druckexemplar”). These documents are thus an integral part of the grant decision. Therefore, the “Druckexemplar” determines the extent of protection conferred by a European patent (Art. 69 EPC).
In consequence, the published patent specification (B1 document) has no legally binding character and is for information purposes only. Mistakes in the publication produced by the EPO after applicant’s approval can be corrected upon request of the patent proprietor. The corrected version of the patent will be reprinted completely (B9 document).