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European Patent Office Reviews Guideline Updates

13 / 5 / 2024

The European Patent Office (EPO) held a meeting of the SACEPO Working Party on Guidelines on April 25, 2024. SACEPO means a Standing Advisory Committee before the EPO. The newly appointed members discussed feedback from a public consultation on the EPC and PCT-EPO Guidelines, including suggestions for the upcoming Unitary Patent (UP) Guidelines.

The consultation gathered 168 comments on the EPC Guidelines and 23 on the PCT-EPO Guidelines. Discussions covered various topics, such as handling AI and computer-related inventions, third-party observations, and expediting patent approvals.


Users appreciated clearer examples and updated sections in the revised guidelines. Where changes couldn’t be made, the EPO provided explanations based on legal grounds.

Updates to the EPC Guidelines now reflect the new fee system as effective April 1, 2024. The guidelines also detail accelerating opposition proceedings for cases before the Unified Patent Court.

Efforts to modernize the language in English versions of Parts A, B, and C of the EPC Guidelines were presented. This includes replacing outdated language with clearer expressions. The modernization will continue for consistency across the document and alignment with the EPC. Gender-neutral language will be introduced in French and German versions where feasible.

Thus, the updates reflect changes in technology and law to address new challenges like inventions involving artificial intelligence. Simpler language and more transparent explanations in the guidelines make it easier for inventors and patent examiners to understand the process.

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