Learning path for patent examiners from National Offices



The series "Learning path for patent examiners from National Offices" is edited and published by the European Patent Academy. The series is intended for patent examiners at national patent offices who are taking part in training organised by the European Patent Office (EPO). It is also freely available to the public for independent learning.

Topics covered include novelty, inventive step, clarity, unity of invention, sufficiency of disclosure, amendments and search. Also addressed are patenting issues specific to certain technical fields:

  • patentability exceptions and exclusions in biotechnology
  • assessment of novelty, inventive step, clarity, sufficiency of disclosure and unity of invention for chemical inventions
  • the patentability of computer-implemented inventions, business methods, game rules, mathematics and its applications, presentations of information, graphical user interfaces and programs for computers
  • claim formulation for computer-implemented inventions

Each publication focuses on one topic at entry, intermediate or advanced level. The explanations and examples are based on the European Patent Convention, the Guidelines for Examination in the EPO and selected decisions of the EPO's boards of appeal. References are made to the Patent Cooperation Treaty and its Regulations whenever appropriate.

The series will be revised annually to ensure it remains up to date.


This publication is for training and information purposes only. Although it has been prepared with great care, it cannot be guaranteed that the information it contains is accurate and up to date; nor is it meant to be a comprehensive study or a source of legal advice. The EPO is not liable for any losses, damages, costs, third-party liabilities or expenses arising from any error in data or other information provided in this publication.

The opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the EPO.

This publication may be used and reproduced for non-commercial purposes, provided that the EPO and the contributors are appropriately acknowledged. Reproduction for commercial purposes is not permitted.

All references to natural persons are to be understood as applying to all genders.


Available level      
Novelty Entry Intermediate Advanced
Inventive step Entry Intermediate Advanced
Clarity Entry Intermediate Advanced
Union of invention Entry - -
Sufficiency of disclosure Entry Intermediate Advanced
Amendments Entry Intermediate Advanced


Chemical inventions
Available level      
Patentability: exceptions
and exclusions
Entry Intermediate Advanced
Assessment of novelty Entry Intermediate Advanced
Assessment of inventive step - Intermediate Advanced
Assessment of clarity - Intermediate Advanced
Sufficiency of disclosure - Intermediate Advanced
Unity of invention Entry - -
Computer implemented inventions
Available level      
Computer implemented inventions Entry - -
Business methods - Intermediate -
Game rules - Intermediate Advanced 
Mathematics and its applications - Intermediate Advanced
Presentations of information (POI) and graphical user interfaces (GUI) - Intermediate Advanced
Programs for computers - - Advanced
Claim formulation for computer-implemented inventions - - Advanced


Available level      
Structured searches Entry - -
Defining the scope of the search - Intermediate  -
Preliminary search - Intermediate -
Designing search strategies - Intermediate -
Performing the search - Intermediate -
Selecting the best documents - Intermediate -
Final steps - Intermediate -
Drafting the search report - Intermediate -
Drafting the written opinion - Intermediate -



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