Friday, November 23, 2018

Indexed EPO Guidelines (1 Nov 2018) now available to order

The EPO no longer makes the Guidelines available on paper. So you have to print out the 960 pages, and put it into a binder.

My version is printed on 50g A5 paper - a convenient format as a desktop reference, to take to oral proceedings, or to take to the EQE.

Update (17/1/19): the thin paper is noe available for new orders.

On paper, the Guidelines have never been easy to use. This version improves on the official version by:
- providing a single Detailed Table of Contents at the front (instead of per part), to quickly scan the paragraphs
- using page numbers
- indicating sections with a major amendment in the last 3 years

Legal citations & references are underlined, making them easier to spot.

It includes (no page numbers) the official Computer-Implemented Inventions (CII) Index, Alphabetical Keyword Index & List of Sections Amended.

EQE 2020 Candidates:
- This version (1 Nov 2018 = in force on 31 Oct 2019) is the official version for EQE 2020

EQE 2019 Candidates:
- The previous version (1 Nov 2017 = in force on 31 Oct 2018) is the official version for EQE 2019.
- However, the changes in the 1 Nov 2018 version are based on Case Law, OJ EPO notices and practice changes which were known in early 2018.
- The Examination Committees will therefore accept answers based on the 1 Nov 2017 or 1 Nov 2018 version. Note the version used once in your paper if you use the 1 Nov 2018 version.
- For Pre-Exam 2019 candidates, it is recommended to use the 1 Nov 2018 version as it will also be valid for the Main Exam in 2020, so you do not need to transfer any mark-up.

The link is on my patent firm's website, or you can go to the website directly (use the language option in the top left corner if you can't read Dutch).


  1. Thanks, as always!

    Would you be able to give any indication by now whether you think it is likely that you will find a new printer for the thin version before EQE 2019?

  2. It is more difficult than I thought. My preference is a printer that also will handle the ordering and shipping within Europe, so a printer with an online bookshop. And preferably no ISBN and using Print On Demand. I have found one that works with batches of 20, but they only deliver in The Netherlands & Belgium. I am now looking outside The Netherlands ...

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  4. iH Pete, very grateful for the resources you provide. I was planning to use your 1 Nov 2018 guidelines for my pre-EQE 2019. I note that you mention for the EQE that the Examination committees will accept answers based on the 1 Nov 2018 guidelines: is this true for the pre-EQE also?

    1. Hi A Weaver,
      it is the same syllabus and the same system for the Pre-Exam. The syllabus is based on the legal situation on 31 Oct 2018, and not limited solely to the documents available on that date - these documents are usually a little out-of-date.
      The Guideline updates are based on the legal situation much earlier in the year. If there is change with a clear entry into force, this is visible in the Guidelines.
      The content of the exams is finalised about a year before the exam takes place, so they avoid asking about anything that will only enter into force after that, unless they understand exactly what the change is. For example, fee changes. For the Pre-Exam, this avoidance of risk and any possible ambiguity is even higher.
      There was at least one case a number of years ago where something had recently changed, and they accepted both answers (new and old) - the change was announced in the OJEPO months before it actually came into force, making it unclear whether candidates were supposed to consider it.

      Regards, Pete

    2. Thanks very much Pete, much appreciated!

  5. Dear Pete,
    I'm really interested in purchasing a copy of these to save me printing them and lugging a binder to the exam, but I just wanted to check what the book looks like inside please? Is it basically the pdf of the Guidelines as available on the EPO website printed into a conveniently sized book? Or are there any annotations or changes in format that you have implemented to improve readability (other than the stated detailed table of contents, page numbers and highlighting of amendments)?
    Thanks in advance and thank you for providing these valuable resources!

  6. Dear Lewis,
    thanks for the feedback. You are right - it is mainly the Guidelines in A5 form. I use the hyperlinked version, so that the references are underlined. Their standard formatting is still readable when reduced. I combine the indexes in one place, and edit the titles down to make them as close to one line per entry as possible, and add page numbers. I include their standard CII & keyword indexes, but no page numbers have been added.

  7. Dear Pete,
    Thank you very much for your reply and for the links. It looks perfect. I will see about ordering a copy up very soon!
    Thanks again,

  8. Hi Pete - Can you use the new Nov 2019 guidelines for EQE 2020 and will you be making the EPO Nov 2019 guidelines version available?

  9. Yes, there will be a new version - it normally takes about 2 weeks after the pdf's are made available
    I would advise to use the new version - although the 1 Nov 2018 version is officially the right one, they will not mark an answer wrong if it is answered using more up-to-date materials. That is because almost everything that appears in the newest version of the Guidelines comes from case law or policy changes that were discussed months earlier.
    It is recommended to mention the year once in your answer if you do not use the official one