Public online user consultation on the Guidelines

Espacenet visual with the words search, innovate and find

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 15 April 2020

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 procedure to be followed in the various aspects of 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 addressed primarily to 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.

The Strategic Plan 2023 as adopted by the EPO's Administrative Council in June 2019 lists as one of its goals to involve all users in the revision of the Guidelines. To achieve this goal, the SACEPO Working Party on Guidelines agreed at its November 2019 meeting to conduct a public online consultation where patent system users would be invited to comment on the EPC and PCT-EPO Guidelines.

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

If interested, please submit your comments by 15 April 2020, 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 feedback form – accessed by clicking the Add field button on the online form – for each part of the Guidelines you would like 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 a summary of your anonymised comments will be published on the EPO website.

By participating in our online consultation you are helping us 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”, “we” or “the controller) is committed to protecting your privacy and the personal data (“personal data” or “data”) you provide as part of our consultation. We will process the personal data in accordance with our Guidelines for the protection of personal data (DPG), which aim to ensure best practice when handling users' personal data.

The information in this statement is provided in accordance with Article 13 of the DPG.

What personal data will we collect?

We will collect your contact details (first and last names) and your contribution.

Why will we collect these data?

The EPO is committed to continuously improving the services it offers to users of the European patent system as part of its remit under the European Patent Convention. Consulting the public is one way it can find out where improvement is needed. The personal data collected during this consultation will help it to identify the measures it can take to improve its 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.

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

The department responsible for this processing will be Patent Law. You can contact them by emailing patentlaw@epo.org.

Does the EPO have a designated Data Protection Officer?

Yes. You can contact them by emailing dataprotection@epo.org.

Who will we share your data with?

Personal data collected will be accessed only by a small team of authorised EPO staff in charge of analysing the results of the consultation.

The anonymised contributions will also be disclosed to other authorised persosn in charge of analysing the results of the consultation and published on the EPO website in summarised form.

How long will we keep your data for?

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

What rights do you have?

  • Right of access: You have the right to ask for confirmation of whether or not we are processing your personal data and, if we are, to ask for access to that data and for information such as the purposes of the processing and the categories of personal data concerned.
  • Right to rectification: You have the right to ask for the correction of inaccurate personal data.
  • Right to deletion: In certain circumstances, you have the right to ask for your personal data to be deleted without undue delay, for example if we no longer need it for the purposes for which we collected it or it has been processed unlawfully.
  • Right to restriction of processing: In certain circumstances, you have the right to ask that we restrict the processing of your personal data, for example if you think that the personal data we are processing about you is incorrect or the processing unlawful.
  • Right to object: In certain circumstances, you have the right to object to the processing of your personal data, in particular if we process it without a legitimate interest or use it for marketing purposes.

To exercise your rights, please send a written request to the controller at patentlaw@epo.org. Your request will be answered free of charge and without undue delay.

Quick Navigation