Notice from the European Patent Office dated 3 September 2013 concerning updating of the Guidelines for Examination in the European Patent Office

In the course of restructuring the Guidelines for Examination in the European Patent Office (hereinafter "the Guidelines") in 2012, 1  the EPO decided to allow for annual revisions in order to keep the Guidelines in line with legal and procedural developments.

The 2013 update of the Guidelines has been prepared accordingly and will enter into force on 20 September 2013.

The updated Guidelines are available online on the EPO's website in its three official languages and can be downloaded free of charge. They will also be issued in paper form (for orders please write to https://forms.epo.org/service-support/ordering/books-order-form.html).

Please note that the September 2013 edition of the Guidelines is the only valid official version, and supersedes the June 2012 edition as from 20 September 2013. Amendments have been made in all eight parts, A to H.

Most of the changes relate to implementation of the new Rule 53(3) EPC 2  and to recent case law that has an impact on practice, such as G 1/10. 3 

In addition, clarification has been provided on issues relating to computer-implemented inventions and business methods in the context of subject-matter to be excluded from the search, in order to bring the text into line with the relevant case law. 4  A new section has been inserted to provide information on the early processing of applications before the EPO as designated/elected Office before expiry of the 31-month time limit under Article 22(3) PCT and Rule 159(1) EPC. 5 

Amended or new text as compared with the 2012 version is indicated by lines in the margin.


  1. See OJ EPO 2012, 420.
  2. See in particular A-III, 6.8 and sub-sections, D-VII, 2, and F-VI, 3.4.
  3. See H-VI.
  4. See B-VIII, 2.2.
  5. See E-VIII, 2.9.

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