GL FOREWORD 1 Preliminary remarks

In accordance with Art. 10(2)(a) of the European Patent Convention (EPC), the President of the European Patent Office (EPO) had adopted, effective as at 1 June 1978, the Guidelines for Examination in the European Patent Office.
These Guidelines are updated at regular intervals to take account of developments in European patent law and practice. Usually, updates involve amendments to specific sentences or passages on individual pages, in order to bring the text into line with patent law and EPO practice as these continue to evolve. It follows that no update can ever claim to be complete. Any indication from readers drawing attention to errors as well as suggestions for improvement are highly appreciated and may be sent by email to:
The binding version of the Guidelines for Examination in the European Patent Office is published by the EPO in searchable HTML format on the internet at
Both the HTML and PDF versions of the Guidelines contain:
(a) a non-exhaustive alphabetical keyword index;  
(b) an index of computer-implemented inventions (CII), with a collection of direct hyperlinks to the relevant chapters in the Guidelines; 
(c) a full list of the sections that have been amended, together with the corresponding hyperlinks. 
In the HTML publication, modifications can be viewed by ticking the "Show modifications" box in the upper right corner, which displays inserted text with a green background and deleted text in red strikethrough font. For sections in which no changes have been made, the tick box is greyed out.

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