III. Rules common to all proceedings before the EPO
A.The principle of the protection of legitimate expectations
B.Right to be heard
a) Cases in which Article 113(1) EPC was violated in relation to the introduction of new claims or relevant documents
b) Cases in which Article 113(1) EPC was not violated even though new claims or relevant documents were introduced
3.2.Effects of withdrawal of a request for oral proceedings in case of oral proceedings at the instance of the EPO
5.2.Non-attendance of party who filed new claims without amended description before oral proceedings; no reason for postponement of ruling
6.3.Final date for written submissions in the preparation for oral proceedings and late submission of new facts and evidence – Rule 116 EPC
D.Time limits, documents transmitted by fax, further processing and interruption of proceedings
1.3.Extension of time limits ipso jure on account of public holidays or dislocation in delivery of mail (Rule 134 EPC)
1.3.2General dislocation or interruption in delivery or transmission of mail in a Contracting State (R. 134(2) EPC)
1.4.Statutory periods of grace, additional period for payment of renewal fees and the fiction of observance of a time limit for fee payments
4.4.Determining legal incapacity of the applicant or patent proprietor for the purpose of Rule 142(1)(a) EPC
E.Re-establishment of rights
2.2.Re-establishment only in cases of failure to observe a time limit for which it was for the applicant to observe
a) Communication between professional representatives and their clients, the EPO or other representatives
6.5.Re-establishment in the context of the President's extension of time limits during general disruption
G.Law of evidence
H.Interpretation of the EPC
I.Main and auxiliary requests
7.Interlocutory decision on allowable auxiliary request – distinction between examination proceedings and opposition proceedings
3.4.Objection based on an obviously wrong understanding of the board's procedural obligations, the right to be heard and the principle of a fair trial
6.2.4Suspected partiality of the Chairman of the Enlarged Board of Appeal who at the same time was Vice-President of Directorate-General 3 (VP3)
K.Formal aspects of decisions of EPO departments
1.3.3Composition of opposition division includes those who have taken part in proceedings for grant contrary to Art. 19(2) EPC
L.Correction of errors in decisions
M.Inspection of files, European Patent Register and stay of proceedings
N.Observations by third parties
O.Transfer of party status
1.3.2Request to cease alleged infringement and institution of proceedings for non-infringement – Article 105(1)(b) EPC
Q.Continuation of the opposition proceedings by the EPO
R.Apportionment of costs
2.2.2Request for scheduling or postponement of oral proceedings; withdrawal of request for oral proceedings
U.Rules relating to Fees
2.2.Duty of persons without residence nor place of business within a contracting state to be represented by a professional representative
W.Guidelines for Examination in the European Patent Office
- T 17/22
Catchword: see point 1.2.2 of the reasons.
- T 1678/21
1. From the company name of an appellant alone it can generally not be derived that the appellant does not meet the conditions of Rule 6(4,5) EPC in conjunction with European Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC of 6 May 2003 for payment of the reduced appeal fee. This applies even where a company name is well-known. 2. Where it is not clear from the file at the end of the appeal period whether or not an appellant at the point in time of payment of the reduced fee meets the conditions of Rule 6(4,5) EPC, no clear intention to pay the regular appeal fee can be detected that under the principles of T 152/82 would entitle the EPO to ex officio debit the amount of the regular fee. 3. An appellant who gives a debit order for payment of the reduced appeal fee even though it clearly does not meet the conditions of Rule 6(4,5) EPC commits an obvious mistake in the meaning of J 8/80 and G 1/12. Such an appellant is imputed to have had the clear intention to pay the regular fee, reason why no evidence to prove this intention is required. 4. The exhaustive criteria to assess Rule 139 EPC are "principles" (a) to (c) of G 1/12, i.e. essentially those of J 8/80, points 4 and 6: (a) The correction must introduce what was originally intended. (b) Where the original intention is not immediately apparent, the requester bears the burden of proof, which must be a heavy one. The same applies, pursuant to J 8/80, point 6, where the making of the mistake is not self-evident. (c) The error to be remedied may be an incorrect statement or an omission. complemented by criterion (d) balancing of the public interest in legal certainty with the interest of the party requesting correction, with the factors (i.e. sub-criteria of this criterion) relevant to the specific case.
- T 806/21
As ruled in decision G 1/10, Rule 140 EPC is not available to correct patents. G 1/10 does not restrict the scope of the exclusion of the applicability of the rule in any way.
- T 71/21
Berichtigung der Erklärung betreffend die Methode für die Entrichtung der Beschwerdegebühr im Formblatt 1038 - Ermittelung der ursprünglichen Absicht bei der Auswahl der Zahlungsmethode, siehe Entscheidungsgründe 6.4
- T 1891/20
If a party considers that the "essentials of the oral proceedings" or "relevant statements" within the meaning of Rule 124(1) EPC are incorrect or missing in the minutes of oral proceedings, they must file a request for correction of the minutes in the shortest time possible after their receipt. This ensures that the relevant facts and submissions are still fresh in the minds of the members of the deciding body and, if applicable, the other party or parties (Reasons 9.2). Waiting for the written decision before submitting a request for correction of the minutes is incompatible with a party's obligation to request correction of the minutes in the shortest time possible after their receipt (Reasons 9.3).
- T 689/20
Catchword: Reasons 3
- T 3000/19
When a video retrieved from the internet is used as prior-art evidence for refusing a patent application, its content, in a form suitable for reviewing the decision, and metadata evidence demonstrating when and how it was made available to the public should be preserved and made accessible over time to interested parties and judicial bodies.
- T 1791/19
Catchword: Reasons 7
- T 1474/19
I. A debit order has to be interpreted on its substance, according to the (objectively) clear intention of the appellant expressed therein to pay a fee in the applicable amount.
II. Under the Arrangements for deposit accounts valid as from 1 December 2017 (ADA 2017), a debit order having the clear purpose of paying a particular fee (here: the appeal fee) authorises the EPO to debit that fee in the applicable amount.
- 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 250/19
L'impossibilité d'utiliser un tableau blanc ou un « flip chart » physiques lors d'une procédure orale tenue par visioconférence ne viole pas le droit d'une partie d'être entendue selon l'article 113 CBE (point 9.5.8 des motifs). La conformité d'une procédure orale sous forme de visioconférence avec le droit d'une partie d'être entendue selon l'article 113 CBE ne dépend pas de l'accord de cette partie à ce que la procédure orale se tienne par visioconférence mais uniquement du fait si cette partie a suffisamment la possibilité de prendre position et de présenter son cas (point 10.8 des motifs).
- T 1564/18
Since neither the annex to the summons nor any of the previous communications of the examining division contained the essential legal and factual reasons leading to the finding in the appealed decision that claim 1 of the main request lacked novelty over the prior-art device considered for the first time in the novelty assessment of the refusal, and since no reason was given why the amendments made in advance of the oral proceedings held in absentia justified the change to this new closest prior art, the decision was issued in violation of the right to be heard even though the prior-art device on which the refusal was based was disclosed in the same document as a closest prior art considered previously in the examination procedure.
- T 555/18
If the only feature that distinguishes a claim from the closest prior art is a range of an unusual parameter and it is concluded that it would be obvious for the skilled person to solve the underlying technical problem in ways that can be presumed to inherently lead to values within or close to the claimed range, it is the proprietor who should bear the burden of proof to demonstrate that implementing such solutions would not lead to the claimed parametrical range.
- T 2440/16
Ablehnung wegen Besorgnis der Befangenheit
- Zum notwendigen Inhalt einer dienstlichen Äußerung gemäß Artikel 3 (2) VOBK 2020 (Ziffer 1.4.3).
- Die Stellung eines Antrags und die Einlassung zur Sache sind Verfahrenshandlungen im Sinne von Artikel 24 (3) Satz 2 EPÜ (Ziffer 1.5.2).
- Ein Spruchkörper ist nicht generell verpflichtet, in der mündlichen Verhandlung Erklärungen oder Begründungen für die Auffassung der Kammer zu geben. Das Fehlen einer solchen Begründung rechtfertigt in der Regel nicht die Besorgnis der Befangenheit (Ziffer 2.3.1).
- Die Einleitung der durch ein Beratungsergebnis bedingten notwendigen weiteren Verfahrensschritte rechtfertigt nicht die Besorgnis der Befangenheit (Ziffer 2.3.2).