3. Materiellrechtliche Prüfung der Beschwerde
- T 727/19
1. The Guidelines, Part E, Chapter XI, set out the procedure whereby the reasons of a responsible superior's decision rejecting a challenge to the impartiality of a division can be appealed. This procedure does not make the responsible superior's decision formally appealable (Reasons 2.3 and 2.4).
2. The unexplained omission of the reasons of the responsible superior's decision from the final decision of the division justifies the suspicion of partiality and constitutes a substantial procedural violation (Reasons 2.9 and 2.15).
3. The principle of the prohibition of "reformatio in peius" is not applicable where a case is to be remitted to a division in a new composition because of a suspicion of partiality (Reasons 5.5 and 5.6).
- T 77/18
The respondent's requests regarding the ground for opposition under Article 100 c) EPC confront the Board with the issue of admittance of a new ground for opposition which was raised during the oral proceedings before the opposition division but had deliberately not been decided upon by the opposition division. In the absence of a positive decision on admittance by the opposition division, the Board considers that the ground for opposition under Article 100 c) EPC should be treated as a fresh ground at the appeal stage and its admittance should be governed by the principles set forth in G 10/91, which require the proprietor's consent for its introduction in the appeal proceedings. In view of the appellant's refusal thereto, the ground for opposition under Article 100 c) is not to be introduced in the appeal proceedings.
- T 882/17
If the opponent is the sole appellant against an interlocutory decision maintaining a patent in amended form, an objection related to the inadmissibility of the opposition is subject to the principle of the prohibition of reformatio in peius. In such a procedural situation, the Board is prohibited from ordering the maintenance of the patent as granted due to the inadmissibility of the opposition (Reasons 3.19).
- T 803/17
The yardstick for determining whether the position of an appellant is, because of its own appeal, worsened in a way which is incompatible with the principle of the prohibition of reformatio in peius is the order of the decision under appeal, in particular the order's legal effect on the appellant. If an opposition is considered inadmissible in the appeal proceedings, an appellant whose opposition was rejected in the decision under appeal as unallowable would not be in a worse position than if it had not appealed, as in both cases the patent would be maintained as granted. The legal reasons leading to this result, including whether the opposition is rejected as inadmissible or unallowable, do not fall within the scope of the principle of the prohibition of reformatio in peius (Reasons 3.5).
- T 960/15
The Boards of Appeal may review discretionary decisions. There are, however, limits on the extent of review that reflect the discretion accorded to the deciding body. In the present case, the Opposition Division decided to consider document D8 and the review of this decision is a primary object of the appeal proceedings (Article 12(2) RPBA 2020) - see Reasons 1 - 9.