T 2556/11 (Allelic ladder/QIAGEN) of 11.4.2013

European Case Law Identifier: ECLI:EP:BA:2013:T255611.20130411
Date of decision: 11 April 2013
Case number: T 2556/11
Application number: 06022099.3
IPC class: C12Q 1/68
Language of proceedings: EN
Distribution: D
Download and more information:
Decision text in EN (PDF, 110.204K)
Documentation of the appeal procedure can be found in the Register
Bibliographic information is available in: EN
Versions: Unpublished
Title of application: Improvements in and relating to forensic identification
Applicant name: Qiagen GmbH
Opponent name: -
Board: 3.3.08
Headnote: -
Relevant legal provisions:
European Patent Convention Art 82
Keywords: Lack of unity of invention (no)
Remittal to the examining division
Catchwords:

-

Cited decisions:
-
Citing decisions:
-

Summary of Facts and Submissions

I. The appeal lies from the decision of the examining division dated 13 July 2011 whereby the European patent application No. 06 022 099.3 was refused. The examining division considered the Main Request filed on 21 May 2008 not to fulfil the requirements of Article 82 EPC. In a communication under Rule 71(3) EPC of 23 February 2011, the examining division had acknowledged that the Auxiliary Request 1 filed on 17 January 2011 fulfilled the requirements of the EPC.

The Main Request filed on 21 May 2008 contained 21 claims. Claim 1 read as follows:

"1. An allelic ladder mixture comprising an allelic ladder for locus D21S11 comprising one or more of alleles with a short tandem repeat sequence consisting of sequences:

(TCTA)4(TCTG)6(TCTA)3TA(TCTA)3TCA(TCTA)2TCCATA(TCTA)6TCGTCT;

(TCTA)5(TCTG)6(TCTA)3TCA(TCTA)2TCCATA(TCTA)9TCGTCT;

(TCTA)5(TCTG)6(TCTA)3TCA(TCTA)2TCCATA(TCTA)10TCGTCT;

(TCTA)4(TCTG)6(TCTA)3TA(TCTA)3TCA(TCTA)2TCCATA(TCTA)8TCGTCT;

(TCTA)5(TCTG)5(TCTA)3TA(TCTA)3TCA(TCTA)2TCCATA(TCTA)9TCGTCT;

(TCTA)4(TCTG)6(TCTA)3TA(TCTA)3TCA(TCTA)2TCCATA(TCTA)10TCGTCT;

(TCTA)4(TCTG)6(TCTA)3TA(TCTA)3TCA(TCTA)2TCCATA(TCTA)11TCGTCT;

(TCTA)6(TCTG)5(TCTA)3TA(TCTA)3TCA(TCTA)2TCCATA(TCTA)11TCGTCT;

(TCTA)5(TCTG)6(TCTA)3TA(TCTA)3TCA(TCTA)2TCCATA(TCTA)12TCGTCT;

(TCTA)5(TCTG)6(TCTA)3TA(TCTA)3TCA(TCTA)2TCCATA(TCTA)11TATCTA TCGTCT;

(TCTA)5(TCTG)6(TCTA)3TA(TCTA)3TCA(TCTA)2TCCATA(TCTA)12TATCTA TCGTCT;

(TCTA)5(TCTG)6(TCTA)3TA(TCTA)3TCA(TCTA)2TCCATA(TCTA)13TATCTA TCGTCT;

(TCTA)5(TCTG)6(TCTA)3TA(TCTA)3TCA(TCTA)2TCCATA(TCTA)14TATCTA TCGTCT;

(TCTA)10(TCTG)5(TCTA)3TA(TCTA)3TCA(TCTA)2TCCATA(TCTA)12TCGTCT;

(TCTA)11(TCTG)5(TCTA)3TA(TCTA)3TCA(TCTA)2TCCATA(TCTA)12TCGTCT;

(TCTA)11(TCTG)5(TCTA)3TA(TCTA)3TCA(TCTA)2TCCATA(TCTA)13TCGTCT; or

(TCTA)13(TCTG)5(TCTA)3TA(TCTA)3TCA(TCTA)2TCCATA(TCTA)12TCGTCT."

II. The applicant (appellant) filed notice of appeal and the statement setting out the Grounds of Appeal. The appellant maintained the Main Request filed on 21 May 2008 and the Auxiliary Request filed on 17 January 2011.

III. With the summons to oral proceedings, the board sent a communication pursuant to Article 15(1) of the Rules of Procedure of the Boards of Appeal (RPBA) informing the appellant of its preliminary, non-binding opinion on the substantive matters of the case.

IV. The appellant replied to the communication of the board maintaining the Main Request and filing new Auxiliary Requests I and II.

V. Oral proceedings took place on 11 April 2013. At these proceedings, the appellant withdrew all its previous requests and filed a new Main Request consisting of claims 1 to 16, description pages, sequence listings and drawings.

VI. Claim 1 of the Main Request read as follows:

"1. An allelic ladder mixture comprising an allelic ladder for locus D21S11 comprising an allele with a short tandem repeat sequence consisting of sequence:

(TCTA)4(TCTG)6(TCTA)3TA(TCTA)3TCA(TCTA)2TCCATA(TCTA)6TCGTCT."

VII. The appellant requested the board to set aside the decision under appeal and to grant a patent upon the basis of claims 1 to 16, the pages of the description, sequence listing and drawings of the Main Request filed at the oral proceedings of 11 April 2013 before the board.

Reasons for the Decision

Admissibility of the Main Request

1. The Main Request is identical to the Auxiliary Request 1 filed on 17 January 2011 which the examining division in the communication under Rule 71(3) EPC of 23 February 2011 acknowledged to fulfil the requirements of the EPC. This Auxiliary Request was maintained by the appellant in the statement setting out its Grounds of Appeal. The Main Request is thus considered to be admissible.

Main Request

2. The sole issue discussed in the decision under appeal concerned Article 82 EPC. In view of the subject-matter of the Main Request, the board finds that the objection raised by the examining division regarding Article 82 EPC no longer applies. The decision of the examining division can thus be set aside and the case remitted to the first instance for further prosecution.

3. The board notes that the claims 1-16 of the Main Request are identical to the claims that were the subject of a positive opinion on the grant of a patent in a communication under Rule 71(3) EPC of 23 February 2011 and, additionally, draws the examining division's attention to the appellant's request for accelerated examination dated 9 October 2012.

ORDER

For these reasons it is decided that:

1. The decision under appeal is set aside; and

2. The case is remitted to the department of first instance for further prosecution upon the basis of claims 1-16 and the pages of the description, sequence listing and drawings of the Main Request filed at the oral proceedings of 11 April 2013 before the board.

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