Examination at the EPO as PCT Authority

November 2015 edition

The Guidelines for Search and Examination at the EPO as PCT authority give instructions on the practice and procedure to be followed in various aspects of the handling of international applications before the EPO as International Searching Authority and International Preliminary Examining Authority.

Content description

By decision of the President of the EPO pursuant to Article 10(2) EPC, the Guidelines for Search and Examination at the EPO as PCT Authority have been published. They entered into force on 1 November 2015 as announced in the notice from the EPO dated 21 July 2015 (OJ EPO 2015, A73).

The Guidelines have the following six-part structure:

  • Part A: Guidelines for Formalities Examination
  • Part B: Guidelines for Search
  • Part C: Guidelines for Procedural Aspects in Chapter II
  • Part E: Guidelines on General Procedural Matters
  • Part G: Substantive Requirements of the Application
  • Part H: Amendments and Corrections

Part A describes the procedures for formalities examination when the EPO acts as Receiving Office. Part B deals with search matters when the EPO acts as (Supplementary) International Searching Authority. Part C relates to procedures to be followed in Chapter II when the EPO acts as International Preliminary Examining Authority.

Part E deals with procedural matters relevant to several or all of the stages of the procedure before the EPO as International Authority.

Substantive requirements are explained in Parts G and H:

  • Part G deals with the substantive requirements contained in Art. 33 PCT, in particular subject-matter excluded from search (Rule 39 PCT) and examination (Rule 67 PCT), novelty (Art. 33(2) PCT), inventive step (Art. 33(3) PCT) and industrial application (Art. 33(4) PCT).
  • Part H defines the requirements relating to amendments and corrections, in particular compliance with Art. 19(2) PCT and Art. 34(2)(b) PCT.

Available formats and amendments

The Guidelines for Search and Examination at the EPO as PCT Authority (1 November 2015) are available online in the EPO's three official languages in both PDF and HTML format.

To search within full-text HTML versions of EPO legal texts, use our advanced website search. You can limit your search to one or more of these texts.

Important notice: The November 2015 edition of the Guidelines is the only valid official version.

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