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Germany: The provision of information as a technical teaching? (Federal Court of Justice, “Bildstrom”)

The German Bundesgerichtshof (Federal Court of Justice, FCJ) has issued the decision “Bildstrom” (judgment of 26 February 2015, docket no. X ZR 37/13) dealing with the patentability of a system and a method for displaying an image stream.

The attacked patent EP 1474927 concerns a technical teaching for displaying an image stream, wherein at least two subset image streams are displayed simultaneously and the subset image streams are created from one original image stream. The original image stream may for example be recorded by a swallowable capsule and two subset image streams may e.g. show every second frame of the original image stream in original speed so that each frame is displayed [...]

EPO: T 1756/11, European Patent Office (EPO), Board of Appeal, T 1756/11, 14 January 2015

An EPO board held that observations filed by third parties during inter parte appeal must be disregarded by the board, unless they concern amendments during opposition or appeal, in which case the board had discretion whether or not to consider the observations in the examination of the amendments. Also when a party to the appeal took position on third party facts and evidence, the board had to exercise its discretion. In contrast, EPO policy required opposition divisions to take position on the relevance of the third party observations in any case, treating them like late filed submissions.

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

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EPO: R2/14, European Patent Office, Enlarged Board of Appeal, ECLI:EP:BA:2015:R000214.20150217, 17 February 2015

A panel of the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBA) of the EPO rejected a request to replace the EBA chairman for suspected partiality. The reasons for allowing such a request in decision R19/12 had since been removed because the chairman had discontinued all his managerial activities in the senior management committees of the EPO. Under the new circumstances it remained for the chairman to judge in each individual case to preserve a balance between his potentially conflicting judicial duties and his duties as vice-president of the EPO. Until proven otherwise, the chairman was presumed thus to avoid partiality.

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

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New EPO proposals for renewal fees Unitary Patent: will SMEs kill innovation?

In March 2015 the European Patent Office presented two proposals to the Select Committee for the level of renewal fees of the future Unitary Patent. The proposals were presented as the “Top 4” and “Top 5” models, i.e. equivalent to the national renewal fees of the 4, respectively 5 Member States where European patents are most frequently validated. Currently, these Member States are Germany, France, Great Brittan, the Netherlands and Sweden. The top 5 model contained a 25% fee reduction for SMEs during the first 10 years.

However, the two models only corresponded to the actual renewal fees in the top 4-5 Member States after year 10. For the years 3-5, the EPO had proposed to set the [...]

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.

Boost for Unitary Patent Package: CJEU dismisses Spanish challenge

The European Court of Justice (CJEU) has just rejected Spain’s challenge of the Regulations No 1260/2012 and No 1257/2012.

The eagerly awaited decision in the cases C-146/13 and C-147/13, implementing enhanced cooperation in the area of the creation of unitary patent protection, means an important obstacle for the creation of the Unified Patent Court and the Unitary Patent has been removed.

According to the CJEU’s press release, in Case C-146/13, Regulation (EU) No 1257/2012 ‘Spain contests (inter alia) the legality, in the light of EU law, of the administrative procedure preceding the grant of a European patent. It argues that that procedure is not subject to judicial review to ensu [...]

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