14-15 November 2018
|European Case Law Identifier:||ECLI:EP:BA:2017:T071215.20170519|
|Date of decision:||19 May 2017|
|Case number:||T 0712/15|
|IPC class:||B60N 2/58
|Language of proceedings:||EN|
|Download and more information:||
|Title of application:||SEAT FOAM WITH SENSOR MAT|
|Applicant name:||IEE INTERNATIONAL ELECTRONICS & ENGINEERING S.A.|
|Opponent name:||I.G. Bauerhin GmbH|
|Relevant legal provisions:||
Summary of Facts and Submissions
I. The appeal of the opponent is directed against the interlocutory decision of the Opposition Division of the European Patent Office posted on 25 February 2015 concerning maintenance of the European Patent No. 1931535 in amended form.
II. The opposition division held inter alia that claim 1 meets the requirements of Articles 83 and 84 EPC.
III. Claim 1 according to the interlocutory decision of the opposition division reads as follows (version as electronically filed on 18 November 2014, underlines and strikeouts indicate the amendments with respect to claim 1 as granted):
IV. With a communication according to Article 15 (1) RPBA the Board stated the following in respect of the issues under Article 83 and 84 EPC:
V. With letter of 5 May 2017 the respondent/patent proprietor stated that he would not attend oral proceedings and did not file any observations in reply to the communication of the Board.
VI. Oral proceedings were held on 19 May 2017.
The appellant (opponent) requested that the decision under appeal be set aside and that the patent be revoked.
The respondent (patent proprietor) requested in writing that the appeal be dismissed.
Reasons for the Decision
1. The appeal is admissible.
2. Claim 1 according to the interlocutory decision of the opposition division is not clear, Article 84 EPC.
2.1 The feature of claim 1 which introduces a lack of clarity (see below) is the feature according to which "a maximal angle between said surface of said seat foam and said channel does not exceed 45 degrees". This feature is taken from the description (paragraph ) and thus the lack of clarity results from the amendments made.
2.2 In its communication according to Article 15 (1) RPBA (cf. point IV, above) the Board pointed out that it shared the opponent's view according to which the skilled person would not know how exactly the above-mentioned maximal angle not exceeding 45° has to be determined, a single (one dimensional) value being not able to define the relationship between a plane (the surface of the seat foam) and a three-dimensional channel. The Board further stated that rather than introducing a lack of disclosure (Article 83 EPC), this feature introduced a lack of clarity under Article 84 EPC.
2.3 In the absence of any reply of the respondent/patent proprietor, the Board sees no reason to deviate from its opinion as set out in the communication and thus judges that claim 1 does not meet the requirements of Article 84 EPC for the above-mentioned reasons.
For these reasons it is decided that:
1. The decision under appeal is set aside.
2. The patent is revoked.