Report of the European Patent Practice Committee (EPPC)

C. Mercer (GB), ChairC. Mercer (GB), Chair

The European Patent Practice Committee (EPPC) met on 24 and 25 January. It was the first meeting of the Committee after the epi Council elected its members in the Council meeting C83, held in Warsaw last 18th November, 2017.

Mr Chris Mercer was unanimously elected Chair of the EPPC. The Committee also elected two Secretaries and set up six Sub-Committees (EPC, Guidelines, MSBA, PCT, Trilateral and IP5, Quality). The members of the Thematic Groups (ICT, Pharma, Chemistry and Mechanics) attended the meeting and were given a slot to identify current needs and elect their corresponding Chairs.

The election of associate members for EPPC, its sub-committees and the different thematic groups was postponed until the next meeting of the Committee with the aim to, in the meantime, recruit as many volunteers as possible. Anyone interested in becoming an associate member to any of these bodies is invited to send an email to

The Committee also exchanged views with Mr Alfred Spigarelli (Director Quality Management) on quality matters. The EPPC further discussed the EPO proposal to launch optional postponement of examination at the request of applicants ("User Driven Early Certainty"). Besides, it reached conclusions on certain matters concerning the revision of EPC and PCT Guidelines, which will be compiled by Ms Anette Hegner (Chair of the Guidelines Sub-Committee) and sent to the EPO.

Lastly, the EPPC heard brief reports on meeting held with the EPO and prepared future internal discussions as well as further meetings with the Office.

Should you be interested in knowing more about the topics discussed by the EPPC during its meeting, please send an email to

The Minutes of the EPPC are available on the epi website. Following the EPPC meeting, there has been continued deep discussion on the UDEC proposal and a delegation from EPPC attended a consultation meeting at the EPO on 9th February, where there was an interesting discussion on the project. EPPC has also prepared a letter to the Committee on Patent Law on the topic.
On 8th February, there was a meeting of the SACEPO Working Party on Quality and a report on this will be issued in due course. EPPC will be represented at the next meeting of the Committee on Patent Law.