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EPO: T1938/09, European Patent Office (EPO), Board of Appeal, ECLI:EP:BA:2014:T193809.20141002, 2 November 2014

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.


Fordham Conference 2015 – Governments and IP

Lord Hoffman (former Court of Appeal judge and presently at Queen Mary University) spoke about what can be done to harmonise the law. He said that the governments of most jurisdictions accept that judges have some choice in how the law is developed. There is then a range of views of how much regard should be had of foreign decisions. Lord Hoffman stated that, although he thinks taking account of foreign judgments smacks of showing off, there are practical (and commercial) advantages in making English IP law the same as other jurisdictions (although he was less keen on this in constitutional or commercial law). In Europe there is advantage in the fact that the same text falls to be interprete [...]

Publication: US Patent Law for European Patent Professionals

Guidelines_spines.pmd I am happy to announce the release of my book US Patent Law for European Patent Professionals.

An understanding of US patent law within the context of the US legal system has become increasingly important for patent professionals in Europe in recent decades. Europe and the US are closely linked economic zones, and many inventions for which protection is sought in Contracting States of the EPC are also manufactured and/or brought to market in the United States. As a result, European patent professionals are increasingly confronted with questions from multi-national clients on how best to protect and leverage their inventions within the US. The protection of intellectual property rights in t [...]

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 [...]

The decision „Schleifprodukt“ of the German Federal Court of Justice – a step towards harmonisation with the EPO practice?

The judgement “Schleifprodukt” rendered by the German Federal Court of Justice on 25 November 2014 could be seen as a step towards harmonisation with the EPO because the court carried out the test for the admissibility of claim amendments by assessing whether the feature combination of the amended claim in its entirety represents a technical teaching which is identifiable from the original application as being suitable for achieving the effects of the invention.

EPO: T773/10, European Patent Office (EPO), Board of Appeal, T773/10, 24 October 2014

The Board of Appeal rejected an attempt to apply the fiction of novelty of “medical” substances and compositions of article 54(5) EPC to a dialysis membrane. Contrary to T2003/08 the claimed dialysis membrane did not contain any further substance that might constitute an active ingredient. With reference to arguments in T2003/08, the board noted that it was not decisive that the dialysis membrane could perform the same function as a drug. The board also did not consider the membrane a single-use product consumed during use, because the reason for not re-using merely was fouling, which could theoretically be removed.

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

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