I was a bit shocked to receive an examination report from the EPO reprimanding me for addressing a response to the Examiner and not to the Division
Back when I first began responses to office actions were wrapped in ribbon and couched in very formal terminology. None of that was at all helpful in developing a forceful and effective argument.
The exam report comes with the name of the examiner on it. This I had thought was to facilitate communication. Sometimes I try to call examiners to clarify a point. This is a lot easier in the UK IPO than at the EPO. It seems to me this is helpful to the efficiency we need.
If you consult the guide intended presumably for unrepresented applicants, it does not make demands for Dear Sirs responses.
Is there a role for a less formal layer of communication with agents? It would need to be voluntary. In this case the objections were all formal or might be thought so. A call or an email with a proposal might get the whole matter sorted more quickly. Now I am left wondering whether I will be hit with an added subject matter objection if I delete the "about" the Examiner says is unclear. I am not a division. I am a Solo so no pair of supporting acts to ask about that. On balance I think not but its going to take me a formal response and another two years for feedback from the EPO examining division. Naturally the idea of initiating an informal communication after that reprimand is out of the window.
The renewal fees on this case are paid through an agency so in these two years of fallow between activity, it generates no income so my financial controller quite rightly asks why I am doing it, if its not for love of the inventive concept and a desire to see it commercialised for the benefit of Europe and the applicant.