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Finally, More Clarity from the Boards of Appeal of the EPO

No, not what you might perhaps have hoped for. A lot is currently ongoing at the European Patent Office about the status, the independence, the future location and the (self-)administration of the EPO’s Boards of Appeal, but this blogger is neither sufficiently well-informed nor competent to comment on the big picture. So let’s stick to our guns and praise Board of Appeal 3.3.07 for a little ex-parte appeal decision (T 1882/12) that combines clarity with common sense in an admirable fashion.

The decision relates to a problem that many patent practitioners have been encountering for a number of years. Rule 162 EPC along with the EPO’s Rules relating to Fees definitely discourage applicants fr [...]

Germany: Quetiapin, Federal Court of Justice of Germany, X ZR 41/13, 13 January 2015

When defining the technical problem underlying an invention, it may not simply be assumed that the person skilled in the art needed to address a particular problem. On the contrary, the technical problem must be formulated so generally and neutrally that the question as to which incentives a person skilled in the art obtained from the state of art, arises only when examining inventive step.

A full summary of this case has been published on Kluwer IP Law.

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Germany: Repaglinide, Federal Court of Justice of Germany, X ZR 128/09, 11 November 2014

(a) Advantages of the invention that have only become evident once the invention was made, and at which therefore the skilled person would not have directed his efforts to further develop the state of the art, may not be used to define the technical problem underlying the invention (the Aufgabe of the invention).

(b) Depending on the conditions of the technical field and the circumstances of the individual case, any of several different ways to solve the problem can be regarded as obvious.

A full summary of this case has been published on Kluwer IP Law.

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T 2130/11 or how to escape the added matter – clarity trap for disclaimers

In T 2130/11 the Board held that a disclaimer removing more than strictly necessary to restore novelty would not be in contradiction with the spirit of G 1/03 if it was required to satisfy Article 84 EPC and it did not lead to an arbitrary reshaping of the claims.

German court reverses decision on pemetrexed dipotassium (Eli Lilly v Actavis)

With its judgment of March 5, 2015 (I-2 U 16/14), the Higher Regional Court (HRC) Dusseldorf reversed the first-instance decision and has now come to same conclusion as did the High Court of Justice for England and Wales (here) by holding that pemetrexed dipotassium does not fall within the equivalent scope of protection of EP1 313 508 claiming pemetrexed disodium (in a combination formulation with vitamin B12 or a pharmaceutical derivative thereof). The facts of the case have been set out in the above-referenced blog by our colleagues at Bristows, to which we wish to refer.

In the above-mentioned High Court decision, a significant factor was the prosecution history. Justice Arnold summari [...]

EPO’s Enlarged Board clears up clarity

On 24 March, 2015, the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the EPO, the final judicial arbiter of the interpretation of the European Patent Convention, issued Decision G 3/14 addressing the question of when, and to what extent, clarity objections could be raised by a party challenging the validity of a patent through the EPO’s Opposition procedure. The Decision concludes that granted claims, including combinations of independent claims and their proper dependent claims, cannot be formally challenged for a lack of clarity. Rather, a formal objection of lack of clarity can only be made when the substance of a granted claim, dependent or independent, is changed by an amendment to that claim, and then [...]

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