Gender-neutral documentation at the EPO

The European Patent Office (EPO) has recently published an advanced copy of the latest version of their Guidelines for Examination. The updated guidelines have been amended to use gender-neutral language throughout. The revised Rules of Procedure of the Boards of Appeal (RPBA) which came into force on 01 January 2020 also use gender-neutral language.

The guidelines have been amended to delete gendered language such as “he”, “him” or “his”. The guidelines now use the plural pronouns “they”, “them” or “their”. Alternatively, some sentences have been amended to remove pronouns altogether. The 2020 RPBA also replaced the title “Chairman” with the gender-neutral title “Chair”.

We welcome the work carried out by the EPO to make their texts gender neutral. We believe that gender-neutral drafting provides many benefits for equality, diversity and inclusion, including promoting gender equality and equality across the gender-identity spectrum.

For further information, please contact Dr Catherine Keetch, or our Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Partner, Dr Zöe Clyde-Watson.

EPO Guidelines for Examination - advanced copy

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Revised Rules of Procedure of the Boards of Appeal (RPBA) - 01 January 2020

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