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Guidelines for Examination

 
 

5.5 Decision concerning the admissibility of an opposition, the proprietor of the patent being a party

If the proprietor of the patent, when replying to the notice of opposition, contends that the opposition is inadmissible pursuant to Rule 77(1) and (2), because of deficiencies which are to be specified, the opponent concerned must be given the opportunity to submit his comments within a period fixed by the formalities officer (two months).

If the Opposition Division concludes that the opposition is inadmissible, it must as a rule first take a reasoned decision, possibly after having held oral proceedings. This decision is appealable. If, on the other hand, on the basis of another – admissible – opposition, an immediate decision can be taken on the rejection of the opposition or oppositions or on the revocation of the patent, the decision on admissibility is to be taken together with this final decision.

If, despite the observations of the proprietor of the patent, the Opposition Division concludes that the opposition is admissible, the decision on admissibility is normally to be taken together with the final decision, especially where at least one other admissible opposition exists. If there are only oppositions where the admissibility is doubtful, a reasoned intermediate decision should be issued, which is appealable, provided that this will not unduly delay the proceedings.

An opponent whose opposition has been finally rejected as inadmissible is no longer a party to the subsequent proceedings once this decision becomes final.