In March, the European Patent Office (EPO) has published a new version of the Guidelines for Examination.
The Guidelines are revised annually to keep them up to date. A new version was published in March 2023.
In particular, the Guidelines have been modified in the following sections:
- E-VIII-5: Possibility to request an acceleration of opposition proceedings if there is a parallel action before the Unified Patent Court (UPC) or if the EPO is informed by the UPC about the proceedings
- C-IV-7.2: Search for prior national rights at the grant stage as such prior national rights may have an effect on the validity of a unitary patent (UP). This information is included in the communication according to Rule 71(3) EPC.
- A-II-6: Possibilities to correct the filing documents according to new Rule 56a EPC.
- C-III-5: In case of divisional applications, the Examining Division can, under specific circumstances, immediately summon the applicant to oral proceedings, for example if the content of the claims is the same or broader as in a refused or withdrawn parent application.
- E-III and E-VI: Details regarding the oral proceedings.
- F-V-3.1.2: Documents cited under 54(2) EPC as accidental anticipation should be disregarded in the evaluation of unity of invention.
- G-IV-7.5.6 and B-X-11.6: Details regarding documents being available on the internet: such documents should be stored and should be made available to the parties on request, if they cease to be available on the internet.
- H-II-2.4: Modifications after the communication according to Rule 71(3) EPC will be refused if they are prima facie not allowable. The Examining Division will determine for that purpose the amount of time the examination may require.
- Further amendments have been provided and some topics have been re-arranged.
The Guidelines are available under the link https://new.epo.org/en/legal/guidelines-epc .
The Guidelines are only published electronically. The HTML version has been newly designed to be better readable on different devices.
This IP Alert is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.
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