5 December 2019
Members of the SACEPO Working Party on Guidelines and the EPO met on 27 November to discuss the annual revision of the Guidelines for Examination in the EPO and the Guidelines for Search and Examination at the EPO as PCT Authority.
While the EPO’s Guidelines mainly serve the EPO’s in-house use, over the years they have become a much consulted tool for clarifying the EPO’s proceedings to external parties, in particular to users. The Guidelines for Search and Examination at the EPO as PCT Authority are a valuable new source of clarification for users that will further strengthen the EPO’s role as PCT Authority.
The meeting provided an opportunity to discuss proposals for amendments in the next edition of the Guidelines and comments received from the members of the SACEPO Group. In addition, current topics such as the patentability of artificial intelligence were debated.
The meeting formed a part of the EPO’s efforts to involve users in the revision of the Guidelines, a goal expressed in the Strategic Plan 2023 that was adopted by the EPO’s Administrative Council in June. During the meeting a move to broaden the spectrum of external involvement through a public online consultation on the Guidelines was unanimously embraced by the participants. The meeting was also used by the Working Party members and the EPO to discuss the details of the planned consultation which should start in March next year.