Germany has unfortunately no Fordham conference where an impressive number of eminent IP scholars, judges and practitioners, including even representatives of the EPO, get together once every year to discuss the state of the patent universe and future developments. However, Germany does luckily at least have its Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition in…

A new president of the European Patent Organisation, the person who will succeed the controversial president Benoît Battistelli in June 2018, will be chosen this autumn. That is the expectation of Martijn van Dam, Dutch secretary of state for Economic Affairs. Van Dam said this in a debate last week with parliament on the ‘deteriorating…

The SUEPO, the biggest trade union at the European Patent Organisation, filed a complaint against The Netherlands before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on 8 May 2017. According to the SUEPO, as host to one of the main offices of the European Patent Office, The Netherlands should have acted to end the breach…

An EPO board of appeal expressed its opinion that EBA case law implied that no further use should be made of the three-part “essentiality test” of T 331/87, for deciding whether removal of a feature from a claim complies with article 123(2) EPC. The only test endorsed by the EBA was the “gold standard”. The…

A board of appeal of the European patent office held that a decision to reject an opposition with grounds based on an improperly corrected version of the patent as granted maintains the text used in the decision to grant, without the corrections. A decision of the examining division to correct the text after grant by…

The enlarged board of appeal (EBA) of the European patent office effectively ended the possibility of poisonous priority. The EBA held that entitlement to partial priority may not be refused for a claim encompassing alternative subject-matter by virtue of generic expressions (generic “OR” claims) if the priority document discloses part of that subject matter in…

The duration of proceedings before the Boards of Appeal (BoA) currently is the EPO’s biggest problem in regard to speed. According to the latest Annual Report by the Boards of Appeal, the average length of inter partes proceedings is 37 months (up 1 month from 2015), i.e. more than three years. In 2016, two appeals…

Early certainty in opposition proceedings is clearly a desirable objective, and the President’s commitment to lowering the average duration of (normal) opposition proceedings to 15 months on the average deserves praise. In our experience, the new commitment has already started to result in that the summons to oral proceedings are issued sooner and that the…

The Dutch Government has warned the social situation at the EPO will have to improve soon. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has complained it is not acceptable that over half of the workload of its Tribunal is generated by complaints filed against the European Patent Office. Parliaments in Germany and France have called for action…

The Board of Appeal decided that the invention was not sufficiently disclosed, as no seeds had been deposited and a skilled person could not obtain the claimed plants on the basis of the information in the application. More specifically, it was not possible for the skilled person to ascertain what the parental strain “Capsicum annuum…