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The Netherlands: A v. Arca, District Court of The Hague, C/09/466982, 4 February 2015

Competence of the Dutch courts is determined solely based on facts furnished by plaintiff. Jurisdiction for patent entitlement claims is governed by the Protocol on Recognition to the EPC, not by the Brussels I Regulation.

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

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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: 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 [...]

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