If a third party provides proof, e.g. a certificate from the court concerned, to the EPO during opposition proceedings or during the opposition period that he has opened proceedings against the patent proprietor of the European patent for the purpose of obtaining a decision within the meaning of Art. 61(1), the Opposition Division must stay the opposition proceedings unless the third party consents to their continuation. Such consent must be communicated in writing to the EPO and is irrevocable. However, the proceedings will be stayed only if the Opposition Division has deemed the opposition admissible.
If proceedings within the meaning of Art. 61(1) are instituted during the opposition period, a stay of proceedings will be possible only if a notice of opposition has been filed. Accordingly, the third party might have to file an opposition itself in order to benefit from a stay of proceedings under Rule 78.
The dates of stay and resumption of proceedings will be entered in the European Patent Register. The parties to the opposition proceedings are to be informed of the order staying the proceedings.