Notice from the European Patent Office dated 25 January 2021 concerning the updating of the 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 25 January 2021 and pursuant to Article 10(2) EPC, the Guidelines for Search and Examination at the European Patent Office as PCT Authority (PCT-EPO Guidelines) have been amended in line with the EPOʹs policy to provide an annual update. The 2021 edition of the PCT-EPO Guidelines has been drawn up in line with the new revision-cycle arrangements. [ 1 ] These arrangements ensure greater user involvement in the form of a public online consultation and two annual meetings with the members of the SACEPO Working Party on Guidelines. The amended PCT-EPO Guidelines, which will enter into force on 1 March 2021, will be published as a complete March 2021 edition that will supersede the November 2019 edition.
Like the previous editions, the March 2021 edition of the PCT-EPO Guidelines will be published only in electronic form and will be available in all three official languages on the EPO website at www.epo.org/law-practice/legal-texts/guidelines-pct.html, where it can be downloaded free of charge.
The Guidelines will be available in PDF format – consisting of a clean copy and a version showing all modifications – and in HTML format. Within each section of the HTML version, the actual amendments can be viewed by ticking the Show modifications box in the top right-hand corner. A full list of the sections which have been amended, together with corresponding hyperlinks, will also be available.
As a courtesy service, an unedited English version will be made available on the EPO website at the beginning of February for advance information.
Amendments have been made to all parts of the PCT-EPO Guidelines. The major change is the expansion of Part A, which now includes a chapter on the examination of formal requirements (Chapter VI) and a new section 6 in Chapter II on the correction of erroneously filed elements or parts. Other amendments aim at further improving the text of the previous edition or at updating it. Without any claim to completeness, the language of the Guidelines has also been edited to be gender-neutral.
After the entry into force of the 2021 edition of the PCT-EPO Guidelines, the 2022 revision cycle will start with an online user consultation from 1 March to 12 April 2021. Information about this will be published soon on the EPO website.
[ 1 ] See Information concerning the publication of the next edition of the EPO Guidelines (OJ EPO 2020, A108).