In their second
annual meeting the SACEPO Working Party on Guidelines (SACEPO/WPG) came
together on 11 October 2022 to discuss the final version of the EPC and PCT-EPO
Guidelines. The Guidelines will enter into force on 1 March 2023, with a
preview version available as of February.
The discussions focused on the new Rule 56a EPC and
finetuning other updates in areas relating to inventions in the field of
biotechnology and antibodies, as well as procedural aspects. The adaptation of
the description and claim-like clauses also gave rise to lively exchanges.
The Working Party also agreed on topics to be covered in
future updates of the Guidelines. They include sections relating to Rule137(5)
EPC, aspects of opposition procedures and further examples of the patentability
of inventions involving artificial intelligence (AI).
As for the PCT-EPO Guidelines, the SACEPO WPG agreed on some
improvements to Part F to clarify the subject of non-unity. Details of the
EPO’s practice concerning representation were also added in Part A.
The Guidelines are revised annually.
These revisions take into account decisions of the Enlarged Board of Appeal,
comments received during the annual user consultation conducted in the spring,
as well as feedback from the SACEPO/WPG.