Amended Guidelines for Examination at the European Patent Office came into force on March 1, 2021.
The – from our point of view – most important changes in brief:
- In the future, consultations with individual examiners shall no longer take place by telephone, but via video conference.
- Guidelines for oral proceedings before the Examining and Opposition Divisions have been added.
- The sections on biotechnological and computer-implemented inventions have been thoroughly revised in the light of recent case law.
- There are now detailed step-by-step instructions for checking unity of the invention.
- The requirements for adapting the description are now clearly stated. Further, the adaptation is the sole responsibility of the applicant, i.e. no more communications under R. 71 (3) EPC in which the examiner takes on this task should be issued.
- Incorrect fee amounts (e.g. when determining the claims fees to be paid) will be corrected ex officio by the EPO in future.
In particular, the adaptation of the description shall be handled very strictly in the future; before filing such adaptation, it might therefore advisable to consult a European Patent Attorney.