Users discuss the final version of the EPC and PCT-EPO Guidelines

In their second annual meeting the SACEPO Working Party on Guidelines (SACEPO/WPG) came together on 11 October 2022 to discuss the final version of the EPC and PCT-EPO Guidelines. The Guidelines will enter into force on 1 March 2023, with a preview version available as of February.

The discussions focused on the new Rule 56a EPC and finetuning other updates in areas relating to inventions in the field of biotechnology and antibodies, as well as procedural aspects. The adaptation of the description and claim-like clauses also gave rise to lively exchanges. 

The Working Party also agreed on topics to be covered in future updates of the Guidelines. They include sections relating to Rule137(5) EPC, aspects of opposition procedures and further examples of the patentability of inventions involving artificial intelligence (AI).

As for the PCT-EPO Guidelines, the SACEPO WPG agreed on some improvements to Part F to clarify the subject of non-unity. Details of the EPO's practice concerning representation were also added in Part A.

The Guidelines are revised annually. These revisions take into account decisions of the Enlarged Board of Appeal, comments received during the annual user consultation conducted in the spring, as well as feedback from the SACEPO/WPG.

Further information

Users discuss updates for the Guidelines 2023

EPC and PCT-EPO Guidelines 2023: next steps

Guidelines revision cycle