EUROPEAN PATENT OFFICE
Information from the EPO
Notice from the European Patent Office dated 1 September 2016 concerning updating of the Guidelines for Search and Examination at the European Patent Office as PCT Authority (PCT-EPO Guidelines)
By decision of the President of the EPO dated 1 September 2016, the Guidelines for Search and Examination at the European Patent Office as PCT Authority (PCT-EPO Guidelines) have been amended pursuant to Article 10(2) EPC in accordance with the policy of revising the Guidelines annually. The new PCT-EPO Guidelines will enter into force on 1 November 2016 and be published as a complete "November 2016" edition at the same time as the Guidelines for Examination in the EPO. It is noted that this edition of the PCT-EPO Guidelines will be the only valid official version, and supersedes the "November 2015" edition as from 1 November 2016.
Like the first edition, the "November 2016" edition of the PCT-EPO Guidelines will be published in electronic format only and will be available in all three official languages on the EPO website at URL: www.epo.org/law-practice/legal-texts/guidelines-pct.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 PCT-EPO Guidelines have been amended in all parts, except part A. The major change is the addition of part F. Moreover, many amendments were made in order to improve the text of the first edition and to reflect comments and proposals received from users. For instance, in chapter B-VI information has been added to explain how oral disclosures are handled by the EPO acting as International Searching Authority and in chapter H-II it has been clarified that the EPO acting as International Preliminary Examining Authority should apply, mutatis mutandis, the criteria used under Article 123(2) EPC for the European procedure. Other minor amendments aim only at updating the text of the first edition. The content of these Guidelines will continue to be expanded with each revision.
A full list of the sections of the PCT-EPO Guidelines in which a modification was made is available on the EPO website as hyperlinked to the relevant section. Within each section, the exact modifications made to the text can be viewed by ticking the "Show modifications" box in the upper right corner.