European Round-Table on Patent Practice (EUROTAB)
|European Case Law Identifier:||ECLI:EP:BA:2002:T065999.20021021|
|Date of decision:||21 October 2002|
|Case number:||T 0659/99|
|IPC class:||C01B 15/10|
|Language of proceedings:||EN|
|Download and more information:||
|Title of application:||Stable sodium percarbonate, process for producing the same and bleach detergent composition containing the same|
|Applicant name:||KAO CORPORATION, et al|
|Opponent name:||Solvay Interox Ltd.|
|Relevant legal provisions:||
Summary of Facts and Submissions
I. European patent No. 0 567 140 was granted with a set of claims consisting of 28 claims, of which claim 1 was directed to a process for producing a stable sodium carbonate and claims 2 to 12 were depending thereon.
II. A notice of opposition was filed against claims 13, 14, 19. and 20 of the patent.
III. By letter of 17 March 1999, the patentee filed amended claims as basis for two auxiliary requests.
IV. At the end of oral proceedings which were held on 21. April 1999, the opposition division decided to revoke the patent.
V. With the statement of the grounds of appeal, the patentee filed inter alia a set of claims based on claims 1 to 12 as granted. By letter of 16 September 2002, the appellant submitted that these claims were to form the basis for his sole request and that the pages of the description which were annexed to the letter had been amended accordingly.
VI. By letter of 23 September 2002, the respondent was notified that, in their opinion, the Board did not have the competence to deal with the claims on file. The respondent was also invited to submit his comments on the amended pages of the description.
VII. By letter dated 8 October 2002, the respondent replied that he did not have any objections concerning the amendments to the description.
VIII. The appellant requested that the decision under appeal be set aside and that the patent be maintained on the basis of claims 1 to 12 as granted, with the description as amended with the submission of 16. September 2002.
Reasons for the Decision
Article 99(1) EPC provides, inter alia, that "notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement". Rule 55c EPC requires the notice of opposition to contain, inter alia, "a statement of the extent to which the European patent is opposed".
In the present case, it is explicitly stated in the notice of opposition that the opposition is limited to claims 13, 14, 19 and 20 of the patent as granted. Following the decision of the Enlarged Board of appeal G 10/91 (EPO OJ 1993, 420), the subject-matter of claims 1 to 12 as granted is therefore not included by the opponent in his opposition and the EPO has no competence to deal with these claims.
The description has been correctly adapted to the present claims by limiting the statement of the invention to processes for producing a stable sodium carbonate, without including the products per se as part of the invention. These amendments have also been expressly accepted by the respondent.
For these reasons it is decided that:
1. The decision under appeal is set aside.
2. The case is remitted to the first instance with the order to maintain the patent on the basis of the following documents:
claims: 1 to 12 as granted,
description: pages 3, 5, 10 to 20 as granted;
pages 2, 4, 6 to 9 as submitted with the letter of 16 September 2002.