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Case Law of the Boards of Appeal

 
 
4.2. Professional secrecy

In D 11/91 (OJ 1994, 401), the appellant had requested the removal of various documents placed on file by the complainant. The appellant argued that his request was justified because, inter alia, their inclusion contravened the rule of confidentiality to which professional representatives were subject. The documents were items of correspondence between the complainant and the disciplinary bodies and correspondence pertaining to an opposition case.

The board decided that the professional secrecy referred to in Art. 2 RDR set limits on the disciplinary bodies' powers of investigation and on the obligation under Art. 18 RDR for a professional representative before the EPO to supply all relevant information. However, the mere obligation of confidentiality deriving from the principle enshrined in Part I RDR could not be invoked to resist a request under Art. 18 RDR.