1.
Preliminary remarks 

The present Guidelines are dedicated to the specific procedures before the EPO in its capacity as PCT Authority. Their full name is "Guidelines for Search and Examination at the European Patent Office as PCT Authority", or "PCT‑EPO Guidelines" for short, and throughout these Guidelines they are also referred to as "GL/PCT‑EPO".

These Guidelines can be used and referred to by examiners and formalities officers, as well as patent attorneys, in addition to the Euro-PCT Guide ("PCT procedure at the EPO, [International phase and entry into the European phase], Guide for applicants"), the PCT-RO (Receiving Office) Guidelines and the PCT ISPE (International Search and Preliminary Examination) Guidelines. They are complementary to, but not a substitute for, the ISPE and RO Guidelines, as well as the PCT Applicant's Guide ("WIPO PCT Guide"), all published by WIPO. They will exist in parallel with the Euro-PCT Guide which, as before, has the status of a Notice from the EPO.

The PCT‑EPO Guidelines are published as a standalone document in electronic format only, and will be revised on a yearly basis at the same time as the Guidelines for Examination in the European Patent Office ("EP Guidelines"). The electronic publication includes not only the online version in HTML format, but also a printable file.

This sixth seventh edition of the PCT‑EPO Guidelines is intended to contain a few further parts of existing internal instructions for examiners and formalities officers which are considered appropriate for publication. It should therefore not be expected to be as complete as the EP Guidelines. The aim is to gradually expand the document with each revision cycle. The major change with respect to the fifth sixth edition is the further development of Part A.

Any indication from readers drawing attention to errors as well as suggestions for improvement is highly appreciated and may be sent by email to Department 5.2.2.1, PCT Affairs, at international_pct_affairs@epo.org.

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