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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 [...]

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.

Can a basic patent be amended under Art. 138.3 EPC to overcome a nullity action brought against its SPC?

The messy case law from the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) on supplementary protection certificates (“SPC”) that protect “combinations” of pharmaceutical products has left many patentees that relied in good faith on the criteria laid down by the CJEU in the judgment of 16 September 1999, Case C-392/97 (“Farmitalia”) with patents whose claims are not totally aligned with the new criteria laid down in the judgment of 24 November 2011, Case C-322/10 (“Medeva”), and the ensuing saga. Readers will remember that in Farmitalia the CJEU responded that it was not for the CJEU but for national courts to determine whether or not a product is protected by the basic patent. This was cohe [...]

Can the clarity of amended claims be challenged in an unrestricted manner in opposition proceedings? – T 373/12 refers four questions to the Enlarged Board of Appeal

In decision T 373/12 of 2 April 2014 the Enlarged Board has been asked to decide on the extent to which the clarity of claims amended during opposition proceedings and opposition appeal proceedings can be challenged when the amendments are based on dependent claims as granted.

T 1764/09, EPO (Appeals Court), 9 January 2014

The board held that a document of speculative nature could not objectively be considered as a realistic starting point or the most promising springboard towards the claimed invention: the document was no more than a speculative review of what might be potentially feasible in the future and no concrete realization of the claimed type of product was described therein.

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

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