1. Introduction

The EPC provisions governing "international applications filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty – Euro-PCT applications" are contained in Part X of the Convention (Art. 150 to 153 EPC) and Part IX of the Implementing Regulations (R. 157 to 165 EPC). Pursuant to Art. 150(2) EPC, international applications filed under the PCT may be the subject of proceedings before the EPO. In such proceedings, the provisions of the PCT and its Regulations apply, supplemented by the provisions of the EPC. In case of conflict, the provisions of the PCT or its Regulations prevail. An international application for which the EPO is a designated Office (or, optionally, an elected Office), and which has been accorded an international filing date, is equivalent to a regular European application ("Euro-PCT application", Art. 153(2) EPC).

The Guidelines for Search and Examination at the EPO as PCT authority (November 2018 edition) set out the practice and procedures to be followed for international applications before the EPO in the course of the international phase, while Chapter E‑IX of the Guidelines for Examination in the EPO (November 2018 edition) focuses on aspects particular to the handling of Euro-PCT applications in the European phase. Reference is also made to the comprehensive overview in the current "Euro-PCT Guide: PCT procedure at the EPO", Part A of which lists relevant official texts and further important sources of information.

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