Chapter 1 – Foreword
The European Patent Guide aims to provide applicants and their representatives with an outline of the procedure involved in applying for a European patent.
This updated 20th (2020) edition of the Guide is based on the revised European Patent Convention (EPC 2000) which entered into force on 13 December 2007. All references to articles or rules in this Guide therefore relate to the EPC as in force since that date or as amended between that date and April 2020. Please note, however, that in some cases certain provisions of the earlier Convention (EPC 1973) will continue to apply for applications which were pending at the time the revised EPC entered into force. The present edition has been updated to reflect the situation as at 1 April 2020, and takes account of changes to European Patent Office (EPO) procedures entering into force before or on that date. Users of this Guide should therefore always check the EPO website ( for information about any changes which may have occurred since then.
Any comments and questions on the present guide may be addressed to Directorate 5.2.1 Patent Law (
There is also another guide for applicants covering the Euro-PCT route (Euro-PCT Guide: PCT procedure at the EPO (see point 2.3.002)).

Quick Navigation