In accordance with Art. 10(2)(a) of the European Patent Convention (EPC), the President of the European Patent Office (EPO) had adopted, effective as at 1 June 1978, the Guidelines for Examination in the European Patent Office.
These Guidelines have been and will be updated at regular intervals to take account of developments in European patent law and practice. Usually, updates only involve amendments to specific sentences or passages on individual pages, in order to bring at least part of the text more closely into line with patent law and EPO practice as these continue to evolve. It follows that no update can ever claim to be complete. Any indication from readers drawing attention to errors as well as suggestions for improvement are highly appreciated and may be sent by e-mail to:
The most recent and binding version of the Guidelines for Examination in the European Patent Office are also is published by the EPO in an electronic, searchable form on the internet via the EPO website:
The Guidelines are also issued in printed paper format.
New and deleted texts (as compared to the latest previous version only) are indicated in the margins by vertical and dual horizontal lines, respectively.
In the PDF and print versions, insertions and deletions compared with the previous version are indicated in the margins by vertical and dual horizontal lines, respectively.
In the HTML publication, modifications can be viewed by ticking the "Show modifications" box in the upper right corner, which displays inserted text with a green background and deleted text in red strikethrough font. For sections in which no changes have been made, the tick box is greyed out.