New EPO Guidelines for Examination

On 1 March, an update to the guidelines for examination will enter info force, and three particular areas have caught our attention. Firstly, the new section concerning amendment of the description is important to study. The new guidelines heighten the requirements to the description and will render this part of the prosecution process more complex and hence more costly.

Secondly, the use of video conferences for oral proceedings is now formally considered as the new norm. Forced by the development of the COVID-19 pandemic, video conferences were initially seen as an alternative to physical meetings and were only to be held upon consent of all parties, but during 2020, the EPO changed the status of ViCo’s and they are now widely accepted as the standard process, physical attendance at the EPO office in Munich being the exemption.

Finally, the new guidelines include new sections concerning antibodies and sequence identity. The antibody section describes how an antibody may be defined under EPO case law and will be of particular interest to people working within biotech.

If you have any questions about the new guidelines, please contact us. You can read the draft here.