Public online user consultation on the Guidelines

Public online user consultation on the Guidelines

Submit your comments on the Guidelines for Examination in the European Patent Office ("EPC Guidelines") and the Guidelines for Search and Examination at the European Patent Office as PCT Authority ("PCT-EPO Guidelines") by 12 April 2021

The Guidelines for Examination in the European Patent Office ("EPC Guidelines") and the Guidelines for Search and Examination at the European Patent Office as PCT Authority ("PCT-EPO Guidelines") give instructions on the practice and procedures to be followed in the examination of European and international applications and patents in accordance with the EPC and the PCT.

Both the EPC and the PCT-EPO Guidelines are primarily aimed at EPO staff, and over the years they have become a much-consulted resource for illustrating the law and practice in proceedings before the EPO to external parties.

Given the extent of their application, the Guidelines are revised every year to bring them into line with current legal and procedural developments.

Last year, a public online user consultation inviting patent system users to comment on the EPC and PCT-EPO Guidelines was incorporated into the annual Guidelines revision cycle.

To this end, users are now invited to submit their comments in any of the EPO's three official languages using our online feedback form.

Please submit your comments by 12 April 2021, stating clearly which specific Guidelines they refer to (EPC or PCT-EPO) and indicating the part (and, if relevant, chapter, section and subsection) and language version concerned.

Please use a separate field - created by selecting the Add field button on the feedback form - for each part of the Guidelines you wish to comment on.

Your anonymised suggestions on the EPC and PCT-EPO Guidelines will be forwarded to the SACEPO Working Party on Guidelines for consideration, and will form part of the discussions during the 21st meeting of the SACEPO Working Party on Guidelines in May 2021. A summary of responses received will be published on the EPO website in anonymised format.

By participating in our online consultation, you are helping us to improve the Guidelines. Please take the time to share your comments with us.

Privacy statement for the public consultation on the Guidelines for Examination in the EPO and Guidelines for Search and Examination at the EPO as PCT Authority

The European Patent Office ("EPO" or "we") is committed to protecting your privacy and the personal data ("personal data" or "data") we collect and process as part of our consultation. We will process the personal data in accordance with our Guidelines for the protection of personal data in the European Patent Office ("DPG").

The information in this statement is provided in accordance with Articles 13 and 14 of the DPG.

What is the legal basis for processing your data?

Personal data is processed in accordance with Article 5(a) of the DPG, which states that "processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out [...] in the legitimate interest of the official authority vested in the European Patent Office".

What personal data will we process?

We will process your contact details (first and last name) and the feedback you provide. Data concerning the kind of user group you represent is collected for statistical purposes only.

Who will we share your data with?

Your personal data and comments are stored in the database of an external contractor acting on behalf of the EPO. The relationship with the contractor is based on a strict confidentiality agreement. Only a small team of authorised EPO staff in charge of collecting the consultation results will have access to the data.

The anonymised contributions will be disclosed to other authorised persons entrusted with analysing the consultation results. A statistical summary will be published on the EPO website.

Why will we process this data?

The EPO is committed to continuously improving the services we offer to users of the European patent system as part of our remit under the European Patent Convention. Consulting the public is one way we can find out where improvement is needed. The personal data processed during this consultation will help us to identify the measures we can take to improve our Guidelines for Examination and Guidelines for Search and Examination at the EPO as PCT Authority. We will not use the personal data you provide for automated decision-making, including profiling.

How long will we keep your data for?

We will delete your data three months after the end of the consultation.

Who will be responsible for the processing of personal data at the EPO?

The department responsible for processing your contributions ("controller") is Directorate Patent Law. You can contact them at patentlaw@epo.org.

Does the EPO have a designated Data Protection Officer?

Yes. You can contact the Data Protection Officer at dpo@epo.org.

What rights do you have?

Under Article 14 of the DPG, you have the right to access, rectify, erase and receive your personal data, as well as to restrict or block its processing.

If you would like to exercise any of these rights, please write to the data controller at patentlaw@epo.org explicitly setting out your request.

The right to rectification only applies to incorrect or incomplete personal data.

Your request will be answered as soon as possible.

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