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Guidelines for Examination

 
 

7.1 Precedence of opposition proceedings

The case in which opposition proceedings are already pending when the request for revocation or limitation is filed has been mentioned in D‑X, 2.1. In the opposite case, i.e. where an opposition is filed while revocation or limitation proceedings are pending, the procedure depends on whether the pending proceedings relate to a request for revocation or for limitation.

According to Rule 93(2), if the pending proceedings relate to a request for limitation, the Examining Division will terminate those proceedings and order the reimbursement of the limitation fee. The limitation procedure is terminated on the day the decision on the limitation procedure is handed over to the internal EPO postal service. If the requester has already paid the fee referred to in Rule 95(3) (see D‑X, 5), this fee will also be refunded. The opposition procedure will then continue in the normal manner.

The decision to terminate the limitation proceedings is notified to the requester (Art. 119).

Rule 93(2) is restricted to limitation proceedings. Therefore, in the case of revocation proceedings, there is no precedence of opposition. Revocation proceedings continue after an opposition is filed, and the case proceeds to opposition only if the request for revocation is deemed not to have been filed, is rejected as inadmissible or is withdrawn. Otherwise, if the patent is revoked, the opponent(s) will be informed of this situation and the opposition proceedings will be terminated.