EUROPEAN PATENT OFFICE
Information from the EPO
Notice from the European Patent Office dated 1 August 2019 concerning the updating of the Guidelines for Examination in the European Patent Office
By decision of the President of the EPO dated 1 August 2019 and pursuant to Article 10(2) EPC, the Guidelines for Examination have been amended in line with the EPOꞌs policy of updating them on an annual basis. The amended Guidelines, which will enter into force on 1 November 2019, will be published as a complete "November 2019" edition which will supersede the November 2018 edition.
The new Guidelines will be published electronically and will be available in all three official languages on the EPO website at www.epo.org/law-practice/legal-texts/guidelines.html, where they can be downloaded free of charge.
The Guidelines are available in PDF format – including a clean copy and a version showing all modifications – and in HTML format. Within each section of the HTML version, the actual amendments can be viewed by ticking the "Show modifications" box in the top right-hand corner. A full list of the sections which have been amended, together with corresponding hyperlinks, is also available.
In order to serve the public interest in making the amendments available as soon as possible, an advance "preview" version of the Guidelines in English will be published on the EPO website at the beginning of October.
Amendments have been made to all eight parts of the Guidelines. Some amendments have been made in the light of decisions of the boards of appeal while others are the result of recent information published in the Official Journal; some updates have been made because further clarification of the EPO's practice was required.
In particular, Part A now includes updates on fee payments and the various ways of filing a priority document. Part E has been thoroughly revised, in particular the chapter relating to applications under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). In Part F, further sections of the chapter addressing clarity of the claims have undergone a detailed review. In Part G the sections relating to computer-implemented inventions as well as to inventions in the field of biotechnology have been further clarified. A number of clarifications and updates regarding the EPOꞌs practice have also been added to Parts B, C, D and H, addressing, for example, the topic of unity of the invention at the examination or oral-proceedings stage.
The new edition of the Guidelines also reflects proposals and comments received from users.