Scope of protection extended by fax
During the examination proceedings, the original drawings (which were faxed, and thus of sub-optimal quality) were replaced by better quality drawings showing more constructional details. During the opposition proceedings, the European Patent was maintained in amended form, incorporating the drawings as originally filed (presumably to comply with Art. 123(2)).
The appellants now argue violation of Art. 123(3) EPC, with the reasoning being essentially the following: the claims are not clear (Art. 84), and the skilled person would thus have to consult the drawings (Art. 69(1)) which - by having a sub-optimal quality - omit constructional details present in the patent as granted. The skilled person may thus arrive at embodiments other than those following from the patent as granted. The protection conferred by the European Patent is therefore extended.
There appear thus to be all the ingredients of an Art. 123(2) - Art 123(3) trap.
The appellants further request a different apportionment of costs in accordance with Art. 104(1).
As reason given is the complexity of the preparation for the argumentation supporting the Art. 123(3) violation. Those costs could have been prevented if the proprietor did not at the beginning of oral proceeding request to maintain the patent based on the drawings as originally filed.