EUROPEAN PATENT OFFICE
Information from the EPO
Notice from the European Patent Office dated 9 March 2022 about access to observations made by parties to opposition proceedings and by third parties
1. In order to further simplify and digitalise its procedures, the EPO has decided to extend the practice applied to patent and non-patent literature to all annexes filed during opposition proceedings. As a result, it will no longer automatically transmit copies of any documents annexed to notices of opposition or to letters which are available for inspection and for download in the European Patent Register.
The EPO will, however, continue to communicate notices of opposition and all letters to the other parties for information.1 It will also communicate documents which are not available for inspection in the European Patent Register (e.g. models or videos) or which are not easily legible (e.g. colour documents). Paper copies of documents in the Register will continue to be made available to parties to opposition proceedings free of charge on request.
Parties attending oral proceedings are advised to check the electronic file via the European Patent Register in advance of the proceedings to ensure that they are in possession of all the relevant documents.
2. Similarly, this practice will also be extended to third-party observations.2 The EPO will continue to communicate such observations filed anytime during pending proceedings to all the parties.3 Their annexes will be made available for inspection and for download in the European Patent Register.
3. This change applies to submissions made on or after 2 May 2022.
4. This notice supersedes the notice published in OJ EPO 2020, A106.4
1 Practice in application of Rules 79 and 81 EPC.
2 Observations filed under Rule 114(1) EPC.
3 Observations communicated in accordance with Rule 114(2) EPC.
4 Notice from the European Patent Office dated 28 August 2020 concerning the communication for information purposes of observations made by parties to opposition proceedings to the other parties to the proceedings.