AA Thornton reports on 2022 updates to EPO Guidelines for Examination

AA Thornton reports on 2022 updates to EPO Guidelines for Examination

On 3 February 2022, the European Patent Office provided a preview of updates to its Guidelines for Examination, which will come into effect on 1 March 2022.

There are various improvements that we really welcome, including some that we recommended, but we also have suggestions for further improvements in 2023.

We will consider which of the changes and new Board of Appal case law justify a formal submission via the EPO’s public consultation, after listening to recommendations from our clients and IP communities. We welcome your suggestions.


Our summary of the changes along with commentary from our team can be accessed via the links below:

Summary of key changes and recommendations

  1. Amendments to avoid contradictions between claims and description
  2. Partial priorities
  3. Helpful confirmation on patentability of mathematical methods
  4. New example assessment of technical application of AI
  5. New example assessment of invention including mathematical method steps
  6. Computer simulation, design or modelling – following G1/19
  7. Update relating to games
  8. Data retrieval, formats and structures
  9. Clarification of section on patentability of antibodies
  10. Identification of changes by Part, Chapter and Section

Although the EPO Guidelines for Examination are primarily a manual for EPO staff, they have developed over the years to become an increasingly useful summary of EPO practice for applicants and their representatives. They are regularly updated to include the principles of EPO Board of Appeal case law and practice updates.

We congratulate the EPO for its investment in annual updates and we wish to thank the EPO management team for being so responsive to earlier recommendations.



The EPO’s preview was accompanied by the start of a public consultation that will run until 15 April 2022, enabling EPO customers and other stakeholders to influence the 2023 version of the Guidelines. For information about the public consultation, see here.


Source material

The change-tracked preview of the 1 March 2022 Guidelines is available on the EPO’s website here.

If you have questions or comments, please email Mike Jennings or Craig Turner.

Category: Latest Insights | Author: Mike Jennings, Craig Turner | Published: | Read more