Notice from the European Patent Office dated 21 July 2015 concerning the publication of Guidelines for Search and Examination at the European Patent Office as PCT Authority (PCT-EPO Guidelines)
By decision of the President of the EPO dated 21 July 2015 pursuant to Article 10(2) EPC, guidelines concerning international search and international preliminary examination performed by the EPO under the PCT have been established and will enter into force on 1 November 2015. This follows requests from users to provide a public document which can be used by examiners and formalities officers as well as applicants and attorneys, describing the specific procedures and substantive issues before the EPO as Receiving Office, International Searching Authority and International Preliminary Examining Authority. The format is a stand-alone document which follows the structure of the EPO Guidelines for Examination and as far as possible is organised within each chapter along the lines of the EPO Guidelines for Examination, but adapted to the particular requirements of the PCT. The content may not be as comprehensive as the EPO Guidelines, but will be expanded with each revision.
The establishment of the PCT-EPO Guidelines will enable examiners to easily access the relevant instructions and to cite them where appropriate in invitations, written opinions and international preliminary examination reports. It is stressed that these Guidelines are intended to complement rather than replace the current Euro-PCT Guide and the WIPO International Search and Preliminary Examination Guidelines, Receiving Office Guidelines and the PCT Applicant’s Guide.
This first version of the PCT-EPO Guidelines takes account of suggestions made by the SACEPO Working Party on Guidelines in autumn 2014; however, any further suggestions will be considered at the next meeting of the working party in November 2015, and it is intended to publish an updated version of the PCT-EPO Guidelines annually at the same time as the EPO Guidelines revision. The PCT-EPO Guidelines will be published in electronic format only and will be available on the EPO website at: .