Saturday, September 19, 2020

PCT.App - major update. Sep 2020 edition is now 58 pages shorter. Also in GERMAN.

Last year, we introduced the first version of my PCT legal reference on the IP.appify platform. After months of evaluation and feedback from many users, we have optimised the layout for printing. Although multiple clickable references and repeating provisions verbatim are useful online for quick navigation, they are often distracting in the print version, and made the paper book longer than it needs to be:

  • Repeated side comments visible within one provision have been removed. The first reference only has been retained. So it may be necessary to look up or down for the relevant information.
  • Longer side comments have been consolidated or moved to inline comment boxes
  • Instead of repeating provisions verbatim, references to other sections have been included. This may mean that you need to use the index at the front if you are looking for the full recitation of a provision (electronically, there is always a clickable link to the provision text).
  • Many sections now also begin with a "More details found elsewhere in this book" comment box to help navigation

Additional changes include:

  • All the PCT legal changes of the legal changes of 1 July 2020 have been incorporated, including: R. 82quater.2, R. 26quater, R. 20.5bis, R. 20.8(a-bis), R. 20.8(b-bis), R. 40bis, R. 96.2, R. 71.1, R. 94.1
  • Section 1.5: Overview added of all currently valid reservations (Articles and Rules) 
  • Sections 2.10.1 and 2.10.2 amended to more clearly divide between procedural and substantive priority requirements to reduce the overlap
  • Section 3.4: Overviews added and updated for missing parts & elements 
  • Section 9.1: Moved table info to other boxes, and split communications to make them consistent with the rest. Table deleted to reduce length and improve readability.
  • Section 12.10: Excusing delay and general possibilities for excuse, tidied up and references added to other sections. 
  • Correction of known errors: 

  • R. 2.4 was incorrectly cited in several places as legal basis for 12m priority period. Legally, this is incorrect - it is actually R. 4C(1) PC (Paris Convention). R. 2.4 was added in 1 Apr 2007 to merely clarify that "priority period" should be interpreted according to A. 4 PC - PCT/R/WG/7/3, Annex I, p.2. So, the priority period is NOT a "Time limit fixed in Treaty" and NOT a "Time limit fixed in Regulations". R.2.4 is only relevant for R.26bis, R. 49ter (restoration calculation).
  • Amended comments in A. 48(1), (2) regarding availability in international and/or national phases.
  • An overview of main changes is available here. I have also copied them below. It can be ordered on 24x17cm paper from Amazon (UK, DE, FR, ES, IT, US, CA, JP) on 90 gr paper (3.8cm thick). Or on 50gr paper (2.1cm thick) from The online version is available at

    Till Andlauer has been busy translating everything into German - that will be available in the coming days.

    EQE 2021 - which legal texts to use?

    ** 1 Jun 21: obsolete. See newer post from 3 Jun 2022.
    ** 20 Sep 20: updated to clarify  differences with Pre-Exam,  and to add new Guidelines cycle **
    To remove one worry for candidates, answers for the Main Exam will be accepted based on legal texts valid on 31 Oct 2019 (official date for EQE 2020) and/or 31 Oct 2020 (official date for EQE 2021). 

    This is a welcome flexibility, but candidates still need to choose what to use and what to update. This has always been an issue, but it will be more complicated this year. I get asked this often 😕, so I will try and explain it. See also this earlier post regarding the situation for EQE 2020.

    I will be updating all my EQE-specific study materials to provide versions valid on 31 Oct 2020.  If new EPO & EPO-PCT Guidelines do appear, then I will also make new versions available at the end of Nov 2020. However, based on the EPO announcements and SACEPO minutes, it looks like the Guidelines will move to a new revision cycle from 2021, namely 1 March. 

    General recommendations:
    • Don't worry too much - because "recent changes" are blurred, the exam committees are pragmatic and flexible about what they accept in the answer - either the official versions for that exam, or newer ones. Very little of the exam anyway is based on such changes.
    • For EQE 20xx, use the legal texts and documents valid on 31 Oct 20xx-1
      • but also use the latest version of the Guidelines available in 20xx-1. As a practicing attorney, you should always be aware of the most up-to-date materials. If you use versions made available after 31 Oct 20xx-1 to answer questions, you will not be penalised. In some cases, it may match the 31 Oct 20xx-1 materials more closely.
    • But be pragmatic and don't just print out a lot of books or buy new ones. It is better to update older versions yourself by going through the changes in detail. The EPO provides some track changes versions and the WIPO usually uses change bars.
    • Only transfer a lot of notes and annotations to a new version if you are using very old materials.
    • If you do not use an "official version" during the exam, make a note once in each EQE paper of the Guidelines version you use. It is not required, but it makes it easier for the marker.
    Summary for Main Exam EQE 2021:
    • They will officially accept answers based on legal texts & documents in force on:
      • 31 Oct 2019 (including EPO & EPO-PCT Guidelines version 1 Nov 2018)
      • 31 Oct 2020 (including EPO & EPO-PCT Guidelines version 1 Nov 2019)
    • They will also accept answers based on legal texts & documents in force:
      • after 31 Oct 2020 (including any updated EPO & EPO-PCT Guidelines version 1 Nov 2020, if available)
    • Recommended for EQE 2021, use the legal texts and documents valid on 31 Oct 2020,
      • and the latest version of the EPO & EPO-PCT Guidelines available (1 Nov 2020 if available, or 1 Nov 2019). Don't use the earlier versions.

    See below for the background and explanations: