Guidelines for Search and Examination at the EPO as PCT Authority

March 2024 edition 

The Guidelines for Search and Examination at the EPO as PCT Authority (PCT-EPO Guidelines) give instructions on the practice and procedure to be followed in the various aspects of the handling of international applications before the EPO as International Searching Authority and International Preliminary Examining Authority. The March 2024 edition entered into force on 1 March 2024, superseding the March 2023 edition. The corresponding notice published in the Official Journal (OJ EPO 2024, A10) lists the main updates.  

Available formats 

The PCT-EPO Guidelines are published in electronic form only and accessible free of charge in the three official languages of the EPO (English, French and German). 

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The PCT-EPO Guidelines follow the same structure as the EPC Guidelines, minus Part D, which is omitted because there is no opposition, limitation or revocation procedure under the PCT. Each part conforms as closely as possible to the corresponding part in the EPC Guidelines but is adapted to the specifics of the PCT system. All parts along with an alphabetical keyword index and a list of the sections amended in the 2024 edition can be accessed via the PCT-EPO Guidelines web page.  

Feedback on this edition 

The EPO invites users to provide feedback on the most recent edition of the PCT-EPO Guidelines in a public consultation each spring; further suggestions for additions or improvements are welcome at any time of the year and may be sent to

Revision cycle 

The PCT-EPO Guidelines are revised annually to keep them aligned with the latest legal and procedural developments and to improve their content on the basis of feedback received in the course of the annual public user consultation. All comments are discussed with the SACEPO Working Party on Guidelines, which meets twice a year to come to an agreement on the suggested updates and clarifications. Reports of the meetings are published under Updates on the Guidelines revision cycle web page.