March 2022 edition
The Guidelines for Search and Examination at the EPO as PCT Authority give instructions on the practice and procedure to be followed in various aspects of the handling of international applications before the EPO as International Searching Authority and International Preliminary Examining Authority.
To access the HTML version or download the PDF version, you can use links under “Additional information” below.
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 EPO as PCT Authority have been amended. As announced in the Notice from the EPO dated 25 January 2021 (OJ EPO 2022, A11), they apply as from 1 March 2022.
The Guidelines have the following seven-part structure:
- Part A: Guidelines for Formalities Examination
- Part B: Guidelines for Search
- Part C: Guidelines for Procedural Aspects in Chapter II
- Part E: Guidelines on General Procedural Matters
- Part F: The International Application
- Part G: Substantive Requirements of the Application
- Part H: Amendments and Corrections
Part A deals with the procedures for formalities examination when the EPO acts as receiving Office, (Supplementary) International Searching Authority and International Preliminary Examining Authority. Part B deals with search matters when the EPO acts as (Supplementary) International Searching Authority. Part C relates to procedures to be followed in Chapter II when the EPO acts as International Preliminary Examining Authority.
Part E deals with procedural matters relevant to several or all of the stages of the procedure before the EPO as International Authority.
Substantive requirements are explained in Parts F, G and H:
- Part F deals with the requirements which the application must fulfil other than patentability, in particular unity of invention (Rule13 PCT), sufficiency of disclosure (Art.5PCT), clarity (Art.6PCT) and the right to priority (Art.8PCT).
- Part G deals with subject-matter excluded from search (Art.17(2)(a)(i) and Rule39 PCT) and examination (Art.34(4)(a)(i) and Rule67PCT), novelty (Art.33(2)PCT), inventive step (Art.33(3)PCT) and industrial application (Art.33(4)PCT).
- Part H deals with the requirements relating to amendments and corrections, in particular compliance with Art.19(2)PCT and Art.34(2)(b)PCT.