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Insights from the New EPO Guidelines

9 / 2 / 2024

The recent updates to the European Patent Office (EPO) Guidelines for Examination, set to take effect on March 1, 2024, bring forth several noteworthy changes, reshaping patent strategies.

One of the key updates concerns entitlement to priority. Following recent decisions from the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBA), there is now a stronger presumption that applicants claiming priority are entitled to it, shifting the burden of proof to challengers.


Moreover, guidance on inventive step and evidence evaluation is clarified. Yet further interpretation is needed to fully grasp the possible implications, particularly concerning technical effects supporting inventive step.

For AI inventions, the guidelines underscore the importance of detailed disclosure to enable reproducibility of technical effects. This reflects a broader trend towards ensuring transparency and accountability in patent applications.

Another significant update relates to sequence listings and divisionals. New standards apply to divisional applications filed after July 2022, with the EPO waiving excess page fees for certain filings. This alleviates concerns about additional matter being introduced during the conversion process.

Furthermore, verification of natural person inventors is now mandatory, assuming that AI cannot be designated as inventors. This underscores the human-centric nature of innovation and patent law.

To streamline patent dispute resolution, the guidelines introduce provisions for accelerating opposition proceedings in cases where related infringement actions are pending before the court. This reflects a broader push towards efficiency and effectiveness in the patent system.

Overall, the updated guidelines offer important insights into patent law’s evolution. By understanding and adapting to these updates, patent practitioners can navigate complex issues more effectively to unlock innovation’s potential.


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