New materials for EPO practitioners and their overseas clients


In the last few months, three new documents have become available for guidance on current EPO practice:

  • A. The Updated Guidelines for Examination at the EPO (20 June 2012);
  • B. The Handbook of Quality Procedures before the EPO; and
  • C. The Updated Catalogue of Differing Practices (five IP offices, 2012).

These documents are very useful to applicants of EP patents in their day-to-day work with the EPO. In particular, the Catalogue of Differing Practices can help overseas clients to better understand the EPO’s objections and concerns.
This can lead to a more fruitful, cost-effective and efficient exchange with the EPO and the EPO counsel.


In the following, you will find a short introduction to each new publication.


A. Updated Guidelines for Examination at the EPO


The EPO's revised Guidelines for Examination entered into force on 20 June 2012. They have been restructured into eight parts, their content has been updated, and parts of the internal instructions have been incorporated.

The revised Guidelines are available online in the EPO's three official languages. To make them easier to use, a correspondence table, a table of contents (indicating sources in the 2010 edition) and an alphabetical keyword index are also published.

B. Handbook of Quality Procedures before the EPO


The Handbook aims to provide a guide to preferred practices endorsed by both the EPO and user representatives. Its intention is to help to increase the quality of incoming applications, communications from examiners and submissions from parties, as well as to provide for an efficient prosecution. It may also serve as an orientation for attorneys who have less experience with the procedures at the European Patent Office.


The Handbook is meant to serve as complementary publication to the existing legal texts as it provides useful insight on the application of the law.


C. Five IP offices: Updated Catalogue of Differing Practices

The Catalogue of Differing Practices (CDP) is a tool aimed at identifying the differences in patent examination practice in the IP5 Offices (EPO, KIPO, JPO, SIPO and USPTO).
It is also a first step towards a reference guide which allows the reader to quickly understand the practice in the other offices without requiring a detailed knowledge of the underlying legislative systems.

The CDP is part of an ongoing process undertaken by the IP5 to support work sharing and operational practice convergence between the Offices.


If you have questions on the above, feel free to contact Fabian Lieb.

Publication date : September 2012

  • Publication date: September 2012
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