C. PROCEDURE BEFORE SEARCH, EXAMINING AND OPPOSITION DIVISIONS
Notice from the European Patent Office dated 17 March 2008 concerning accelerated processing of oppositions where infringement proceedings have been instituted1
1. In cases where an infringement action in respect of a European patent is pending before a national court of a contracting state, a party to the opposition proceedings may request accelerated processing. The request may be filed at any time. It must be filed in written reasoned form. The Office will then make every effort to issue the next procedural action (e.g. communication, summons to oral proceedings) within three months of receipt of the request, or, where the request is filed within the opposition period, within three months after receipt of the patent proprietor's response to the notice of opposition (whichever is the later).
2. In addition, the EPO will also accelerate the processing of the opposition if it is informed by the national court or competent authority of a contracting state that infringement actions are pending.
3. However, the EPO has to rely on the co-operation of the parties to the proceedings, who are expected in particular to make their submissions promptly and in full and in any case strictly to adhere to the time limits set by the EPO for replying to communications or commenting on written submissions from the other parties. Requests to extend time limits over and above the normal four-month period can only be granted in exceptional, duly substantiated cases.
1 This notice replaces - without any changes to the substance - the notice from the EPO of 19 May 1998 (OJ EPO 1998, 361).