Notice from the European Patent Office dated 16 December 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 16 December 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 EPO's policy to provide an annual update. The 2022 edition of the PCT-EPO Guidelines is the second to be 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 2022, will be published as a complete March 2022 edition that will supersede the March 2021 edition.
Like the previous editions, the March 2022 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 , 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, a preview of the English version will be made available on the EPO website at the beginning of February for advance information.
Amendments have been made to almost all parts of the PCT-EPO Guidelines. The major change is the expansion of Part A, which now includes a chapter on languages (Chapter VII) and a new section 1.6 in Chapter VI on the applicant's entitlement to claim priority. Other amendments aim at further improving the text of the previous edition or at updating it.
Once the preview version of the 2022 edition is published in February 2022, the revision cycle will start again with an online user consultation on the newly published Guidelines. Detailed information about the online user consultation, which will run until 15 April 2022, will be published on the EPO website () at the beginning of February 2022.[ 2 ]