EUROPEAN PATENT OFFICE
Information from the EPO
Notice from the European Patent Office dated 2 September 2016 concerning updating of the Guidelines for Examination in the European Patent Office
By decision of the President of the EPO dated 2 September 2016, the Guidelines for Examination have been amended pursuant to Article 10(2) EPC in accordance with the policy of revising the Guidelines annually. The new Guidelines will enter into force on 1 November 2016 and be published as a complete "November 2016" edition. It is noted that this edition of the Guidelines will be the only valid official version, and supersedes the "November 2015" edition as from 1 November 2016.
The "November 2016" edition of the Guidelines will be published in all three official languages on the EPO website at URL: www.epo.org/law-practice/legal-texts/guidelines.html and can be downloaded free of charge. They will also be issued in paper form and can be ordered using the form which can be found at URL: https://forms.epo.org/service-support/ordering/books-order-form.html.
The English version of these Guidelines will be available on the EPO website in October in order to accommodate public interest in gaining the earliest possible access to information on the amendments.
The Guidelines have been amended in all eight parts, A to H. Part A has, for instance, been completed to include the validation agreement with the Republic of Moldova which entered into force on 1 November 2015. A number of amendments were made in the light of decisions of the Enlarged Board of Appeal and the other boards of appeal. Furthermore, the information about the various possibilities of filing application documents by means of electronic communication has been updated in view of Rule 2(1) EPC and the decision of the President of the EPO dated 10 November 2015. The Guidelines 2016 also take account of amended Rule 82(2) EPC and reflect the revised conditions for participating in the accelerated prosecution of European patent applications ("PACE"). New chapters E-X, addressing the impartiality of the examining or opposition division, and F-IV, 3.9, relating to claims directed to computer-implemented inventions, have been added. Part H was thoroughly revised by clarifying the wording and references to the case law. The new edition of the Guidelines also reflects comments and proposals received from users.
A full list of the sections of the Guidelines in which a modification was made is available on the EPO website with hyperlinks to the relevant section. Within the section, the exact modifications made to the text can be viewed by ticking the "Show modifications" box in the upper right corner.