7.6.3 Interests of procedural economy

In T 887/98 the board held that remittal was not justified: the appellant (patent applicant) had indeed been able to put forward his arguments in proceedings at both first and second instance, and had been given plenty of time to study a document D2 before the oral proceedings. Furthermore, the examining division had found another document to be prejudicial to inventive step, so introducing D2 into the proceedings before it would not affect its decision. For these reasons, plus considerations of procedural economy, the board refused the appellant's request for remittal.

In the interests of overall procedural economy and effectiveness, the board in T 473/98 (OJ 2001, 231) also found it entirely appropriate and desirable that an opposition division should include in the reasons for a revocation decision pursuant to Art. 102(1) EPC 1973 employing the standard decision formula, by way of obiter dicta, findings which could obviate a remittal in the event of the revocation being reversed on appeal. See also T 915/98. In T 275/99 the board stated that, from a purely procedural point of view, no objection could be made to the fact that the examining division had left open the issue of inventive step in the appealed decision, and the case was remitted.

In T 839/05, since the amendments were of a different nature for each auxiliary request, a possible consequence of remittal could have been further remittals on subsequent appeal proceedings, which would unduly lengthen the proceedings. Thus, with due consideration made for procedural economy and to avoid further delay, the board decided not to remit the case but to decide on it itself in accordance with Art. 111(1) EPC 1973.

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