The EPO announced that the member states agreed on the first two common practices under the Convergence of Practice Initiative.
During the consultation phase the EPO's Strategic Plan 2023 the initiative was launched to align administrative practices between the EPO and Europe's national IP.
Six areas for convergence of practices were chosen jointly by the national patent offices, the EPO and representatives of industry and the IP profession.
The six areas that are part of the alignment process are: 
  • Examination of unity of invention
  • Designation of the inventor
  • Accordance of priority date
  • Examination of unity of invention
  • Re-establishment of rights
  • Examination practice for computer-implemented inventions and artificial intelligence
The first two common practices - in the areas of examination of unity of invention, and designation of the inventor - were endorsed by member states in December 2020.

"We know that companies and inventors seeking patent protection in Europe are sometimes confronted with different practices at national patent offices and the EPO. This can complicate the European patent system, and lead to increased costs and inefficiencies. Through this initiative we are working together to tackle this issue head on, and closer alignment will benefit both patent system users and the offices alike. This is of particular importance for SMEs, for whom differences in practice can be a major obstacle to operating internationally", said EPO President António Campinos.