This revised version of the Guidelines for Examination will apply as from 1 November 2015. Until then, the September 2014 edition of the Guidelines remains valid.

2.2 Abbreviations

In the Guidelines, the following abbreviations are used:


European Patent Convention


European Patent Office


European Search Opinion (Rule 62)


Official Journal of the European Patent Office




Rules relating to Fees


World Intellectual Property Organization


Patent Cooperation Treaty


International Searching Authority


Written Opinion of the International Searching Authority


International Preliminary Examining Authority


International Preliminary Report on Patentability


International Preliminary Examination Report


Extended European Search Report


Arrangements for deposit accounts


Arrangements for the automatic debiting procedure


back-file conversion numerical system



Prot. Art. 69

Protocol on the Interpretation of Art. 69 EPC

Prot. Centr.

Protocol on the Centralisation of the European patent system and on its introduction (Protocol on Centralisation)


European Union


Electronic virtual library

References to the European Patent Convention (EPC) are references to the European Patent Convention as amended by the Act revising the EPC of 29 November 2000 and the decision of the Administrative Council of 28 June 2001 adopting the new text of the European Patent Convention (OJ EPO Special editions No. 4/2001, pages 56 et seq; No. 1/2003, pages 3 et seq; No. 1/2007, pages 1 to 88) and the Implementing Regulations as adopted by decision of the Administrative Council of 7 December 2006 (OJ EPO Special edition No. 1/2007, pages 89 et seq) and as subsequently amended by decisions of the Administrative Council of 6 March 2008 (OJ EPO 2008, 124), 21 October 2008 (OJ EPO 2008, 513), 25 March 2009 (OJ EPO 2009, 296 and OJ EPO 2009, 299), 27 October 2009 (OJ EPO 2009, 582), 28 October 2009 (OJ EPO 2009, 585), 26 October 2010 (OJ EPO 2010, 568, 634 and 637), 27 June 2012 (OJ EPO 2012, 442), 16 October 2013 (OJ EPO 2013, 501, and 503) and 13 December 2013 (OJ EPO 2014, A3, and A4).

Where necessary, reference is made to the European Patent Convention of 5 October 1973 as amended by the act revising Article 63 EPC of 17 December 1991 and by the decisions of the Administrative Council of 21 December 1978, 13 December 1994, 20 October 1995, 5 December 1996, 10 December 1998 and 27 October 2005.

The reference to Articles and Rules – and their paragraphs – of EPC 2000 will be as follows: "Article 123, paragraph 2" will be: "Art. 123(2)", "Rule 29, paragraph 7" will be: "Rule 29(7)". Articles and Rules of EPC 1973, of the PCT and Articles of the Rules relating to Fees are referred to in a similar way, e.g. "Art. 54(4) EPC 1973", "Art. 33(1) PCT" and "Art. 10(1) RFees" respectively. Only where deemed appropriate, i.e. in order to avoid confusion, will references to Articles and Rules of the EPC be provided with the extension "EPC 2000".

Decisions and opinions of the Enlarged Board of Appeal will only be referred to with their capital letter and their number, e.g. "G 2/88". Decisions of the Technical Boards of Appeal and the Legal Board of Appeal will be referred to in the same way, e.g., "T 152/82", "J 4/91" and "T 169/88". It is noted that all decisions and opinions of the Enlarged Board of Appeal and all decisions of the boards of appeal of the EPO are published on the Internet ( (see the Notice from the Vice-President Directorate-General 3 dated 3 July 2002, OJ EPO 2002, 442).

The arrangements for deposit accounts and their annexes, including the arrangements for the automatic debiting procedure plus explanatory notes, are published from time to time as Supplements to the Official Journal of the EPO, which are available on the EPO website (

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