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Law & practice

The European Patent Convention

17th edition / November 2020

The 17th edition of the European Patent Convention is available. It contains:  

  • the text of the Convention on the Grant of European Patents (EPC) as in force since 13 December 2007
  • the EPC Implementing Regulations as in force since 1 July 2020
  • the Rules relating to Fees as in force since 1 July 2020
  • the rules of procedure of the Boards of Appeal and the Enlarged Board of Appeal 
  • the protocols which are integral parts of the EPC (Protocol on the Interpretation of Article 69 EPC, Protocol on Centralisation, Protocol on Recognition, Protocol on Privileges and Immunities, Protocol on Staff Complement)
  • an extract from the EPC Revision Act of 29 November 2000 and
  • the Administrative Council's decision of 28 June 2001 on the transitional provisions under Article 7 of the Revision Act. 

It also contains an index of decisions and opinions of the Enlarged Board of Appeal published in the EPO's Official Journal (Annex I) and an EPC 1973EPC 2000 crossreference index (Annex II). 

Available formats and amendments

HTML version

Only the HTML version of the EPC is regularly updated and shows all texts as currently in force, i.e. with any amendments (e.g. to the Implementing Regulations) included as from their entry into force.  

  • Optimised for online use, it contains embedded links to cross-referenced EPC provisions and any Official Journal items published from 2014 onwards.  
  • The "Version history" function can be used to find any earlier versions of a provision and any related transitional rules.  
  • What has changed in the HTML version since adoption of the version published in the 17th print edition (November 2020) and available in the PDF file can be displayed by checking the "Show modifications" box on the upper right-hand side. 

To facilitate searching offline and printing, selected instruments are available as amended since the print edition for download in PDF format: European Patent Convention (EPC), Implementing Regulations and Rules relating to Fees. 

PDF file

The PDF file contains the latest print edition of the EPC (currently the 17th, published in December 2020) and so does not reflect any amendments adopted by the Administrative Council since its publication. However, all such amendments are listed at the start.  

This is the best version to use for browsing the entire text (EPC, plus protocols, etc.) offline and for full-text searching. 

For up-to-date information on procedural fees, please also consult the Official Journal and European (EPC) fees sections on the EPO website.