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Step by Step towards Inventive Step – Determining the Closest Prior Art comes first (R 5/13 et al.)

In the oral proceedings held in the EPO appeal case T 1760/11 the Board of Appeal (BoA) 3.3.01 selected one single closest prior art (CPA) document for the inventive step assessment and then denied the opponents the opportunity to present inventive step attacks starting from other CPAs. Petitions for review under Article 112a EPC were filed. The BoA’s denial did not constitute a violation of the right to be heard, said the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBA) in the decisions R 5/13 and (identical) R 9/13 to R13/13.

The underlying Case of T 1760/11

The issue under discussion was the assessment of inventive step. The Opposition Division had earlier revoked the patent inter alia for lack of inventiv [...]

Infringement proceedings outside Germany do not provide justification for a negative declaratory action in Germany regarding the same European patent

The Higher Regional Court Düsseldorf has ruled in its decision of 20 March 2014 (docket number 12 W 8.14) that an explicit allegation of entitlement to a national part of a European patent, e.g. by sending a warning letter or the filing of a court action, does not include an implicit allegation of entitlement (stillschweigende Berühmung) to the other parts of the same European patent in the respective other countries, nor does this provide grounds for declaratory interest (Feststellungsinteresse) in Germany, i.e. a legitimate interest in filing a negative declaratory action regarding the German part of the European patent.

The circumstances resulting in the German proceedings were infringe [...]

The EU Patent Package – Where does Europe stand End of June 2014?

1 Introduction

Reports that say there’s — that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things that we know that we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don’t know we don’t know.

Donald Rumsfeld, United States Secretary of Defense, 1975-1977 and 2001-2006

According to Article 89 of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (UPCA), the Agreement is set up to enter into force on one of three dates, whichever is the latest. The first date provided in the Agreement was 1 January 2014. As we all know, it did not h [...]

T 1843/09: the EPO clarifies the scope of the prohibition of reformatio in peius

The recent decision T 1843/09 clarifies that the exception to the prohibition of reformatio in peius set out in G 1/99 in order to overcome an objection under Article 123(2) EPC is not the only exception. According to the Technical Board of Appeal, exceptions to this principle are a matter of equity in order to protect a non-appealing Proprietor against procedural discrimination in circumstances where the prohibition of reformatio in peius would impair the legitimate defence of its patent.

Are Method of Treatment Features To Be Considered for Patentability?

Suppose you have an invention that resides in using a known substance in a known dosage for a known purpose, and your only distinguishing feature is that you apply a particular therapeutic measure after the administration of your substance. Can such a post-administration therapeutic measure, which is in essence a method of treatment, establish patentability of your invention?

It can. On February 25, 2014, the German Federal Court of Justice (FCJ) issued two decisions under the keywords „Kollagenase I“ (X ZB 5/13) and „Kollagenase II“ (X ZB 6/13). Both cases relate to collagenase as an active substance for the treatment of Dupuytren’s and Peyronie’s disease. Both of these are cond [...]

New Block Exemption Rules for Technology-Transfer Agreements

The European Commission has adopted new competition rules for the assessment of technology-transfer agreements. The revised Block Exemption Regulation for Technology-Transfer Agreements (EU) 316/2014 (“TTBER”), and the accompanying Guidelines (OJ, 2014/C 89/03) entered into force on May 1, 2014.

The general structure and most of the provisions have in substance remained unchanged compared to the previous Regulation TTBER 772/2004 (although the language was streamlined quite a bit). Some changes are, however, highly relevant for licensing practitioners. Some of them tighten the exemption, in particular regarding

- restrictions of passive sales to territories reserved for “new” licen [...]

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