Wednesday, 26 February 2020

T 2063/15 - Amendment not occasioned by a ground for opposition


Rule 80 EPC stipulates that amendments to the claims of a granted patent may be made provided that these are occasioned by a ground for opposition. In the present opposition appeal case, the main request and Auxiliary request 1 were not allowed for lack of novelty and lack of clarity, respectively. The subsequent Auxiliary request 2 and Auxiliary request 3 both contained an additional independent claim (i.e., claim 2).

Claims 1 and 2 of auxiliary request 2 were based on combinations of claims 1 and 2 and claims 1 and 9 as granted respectively. The Board considered Auxiliary request 2 not to violate Rule 80 EPC, since granted claims 2 and 9 were each separately dependent upon granted claim 1, found not to be novel; thus, the amendments made to the claims in auxiliary request 2 were occasioned by a ground for opposition. Regardless, Auxiliary request 2 was considered to lack novelty.

In auxiliary request 3, claim 1 was based on a combination of claims 1 and 2 as granted and additional features taken from the description. Claim 2 was the same as in the preceding request. The Board found that the inclusion of the additional independent claim 1, based on claims 1 and 2 as granted in combination with features taken from the description, was no longer simply occasioned by a ground for opposition since this ground was already addressed through the filing of independent claim 2. Accordingly, the amendments made to the claims were deemed not occasioned by a ground for opposition contrary to the requirement of Rule 80 EPC. Auxiliary request 3 was therefore not allowable.

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

T 2227/15 - Transition from RPBA2007 to RPBA2020


Since 1/1/2020, the revised  Rules of Procedure of the Boards of Appeal (RPBA2020) are in force. Its Article 25 lays down the transitional provisions, and provides that the revised version of the RPBA will in principle apply to all appeals pending on the date of its entry into force (see explanatory notes). However, as submissions already on file may be affected, two exceptions are provided in order to protect legitimate expectations which parties may have had at the time of filing such earlier submissions. A first exception is made, in Art. 25(2), with respect to revised Article 12, paragraphs 4 to 6 relating to the basis of appeal proceedings. In the explanatory notes to Art. 13(3), it further provides: "A further exception is made with respect to the strict provision of revised Article 13, paragraph 2. It will only apply to a submission filed after the statement of grounds of appeal or reply thereto if, at the date of entry into force of the revised version, the summons to oral proceedings or a communication of the Board under Rule 100(2) EPC has not been notified. Otherwise, Article 13 of the Rules of Procedure of the Boards of Appeal in the version valid until the date of the entry into force of the revised version will continue to apply." The applicability of Article 13(1) RPBA 2020 to cases where the summons to oral proceedings were notified before the entry into force of the RPBA 2020 has been a topic of the present appeal.
The decision is further issued, in part, in abridged form according to the new provisions of  Article 15(7)-(8) RPBA2020 and also already used (to our knowledge for the first time) for T 1687/17 of 9 January 2020.

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

T 1621/16 - Multiple selections from lists of converging alternatives


In the present case, amendments were based on multiple selections from lists of converging alternatives (i.e. lists of options ranked from the least to the most preferred, wherein each of the more preferred alternatives is fully encompassed by all the less preferred and broader options in the list). The appellant (patentee) argued that these should not be considered to be equivalent to selections from lists of non-converging elements, and that these rather represented a restriction of the scope of protection and were allowable under Article 123(2) EPC. The opponent and the opposition division argued that amendments based on the selection of at least two intermediate options (i.e. different from the most preferred) from lists of converging alternatives infringed Article 123(2) EPC, and that lists of converging and non-converging alternatives had to be treated in a similar way, because the convergence could only be considered to provide a specific pointer to the most preferred options. The Board had to settle on the matter.

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