EPO Boards of Appeal Case Law 2015 and 2016

Online publication date: 31.5.2017

ANNEXES


ANNEX 1

Decisions discussed in the Case Law Report 2015/2016

I.

PATENTABILITY

 

 

 

 

A.

Exceptions to patentability

 

1.

Patentability of biological inventions

 

1.1

Product claims for plants or plant material

 

 

T 83/05 3.3.04 10.09.15

T 1242/06 3.3.04 08.12.15

2

2

1.2

Essentially biological processes for the production of plants

 

 

T 915/10 3.3.04 11.06.15

3

2.

The term "therapy"definition of the term

 

 

T 2420/13 3.4.02 08.12.16

4

 

 

 

B.

Novelty

 

1.

Availability to the public – ways of making information available to the public

 

1.1

Publications and other printed documents

 

 

T 526/12 3.5.05 31.08.15

4

1.2

Public prior use

 

 

T 1410/14 3.2.01 14.10.15

T 2440/12 3.5.07 15.09.15

5

5

2.

Determining the content of the relevant prior art

 

2.1

Taking drawings into account

 

 

T 2052/14 3.2.05 24.06.16

7

2.2

Reproducibility of the content of the disclosure

 

 

T 719/12 3.3.10 29.10.15

7

3.

Non-technical distinguishing features

 

 

T 2191/13 3.3.09 16.10.15

8

4.

First and second medical use

 

4.1

Purpose-limited product claims and Swiss-type claims – scope of protection

 

 

T 1021/11 3.3.04 02.06.15

9

4.2

Novelty of the therapeutic application

 

 

T 773/10 3.2.02 24.10.14

11

5.

Second (or further) non-medical use – process claims

 

 

T 151/13 3.3.10 17.03.16

12

 

 

 

C.

Inventive step

 

1.

Closest prior art

 

1.1

Determination of closest prior art in general

 

 

T 2517/11 3.4.01 12.10.16

T 1742/12 3.5.06 22.06.16

13

14

1.2

Selection of most promising starting point

 

 

T 1841/11 3.4.03 03.12.15

16

2.

Technical problem

 

2.1

Determination of the technical problem

 

 

T 943/13 3.3.09 25.06.15

17

2.2

Reformulation of the technical problem

 

 

T 568/11 3.3.03 20.11.15

18

3.

Ex post facto analysis

 

 

T 2201/10 3.4.01 21.09.15

18

4.

Reasonable expectation of success, especially in the field of genetic engineering and biotechnology

 

 

T 1577/11 3.3.01 03.06.15

19

5.

Assessment of inventive step

 

5.1

Technical character of the invention

 

 

T 339/13 3.5.06 17.11.15

T 690/11 3.2.02 01.03.16

T 483/11 3.5.01 13.10.15

20

21

22

5.2

Assessment of features relating to a presentation of information

 

 

T 651/12 3.4.03 14.04.16

T 1375/11 3.4.03 31.03.16

23

24

5.3

Combination of documents

 

 

T 454/13 3.3.05 21.06.16

25

 

 

 

II.

PATENT APPLICATION AND AMENDMENTS

 

 

 

 

A.

Claims

 

 

T 81/14 3.2.08 12.03.15

T 1722/11 3.5.03 18.12.15

T 1871/09 3.4.01 24.11.15

26

27

28

 

 

 

B.

Unity of invention

 

1.

Single general inventive concept

 

 

T 2248/12 3.3.04 29.10.15

29

1.1

Unsearched subject-matter – applicability of Rule 137(5) EPC

 

 

T 1126/11 3.5.06 08.01.16

31

 

 

 

C.

Sufficiency of disclosure

 

1.

Parts of the application relevant for assessing sufficiency of disclosure

 

 

T 206/13 3.4.02 28.09.15

32

2.

Clarity and completeness of disclosure – parameters

 

 

T 147/12 3.3.03 16.03.16

32

3.

Reproducibility

 

3.1

Repeatability

 

 

T 2001/12 3.4.03 29.01.15

33

3.2

Reproducibility without undue burden – trial and error

 

 

T 2220/14 3.3.08 09.11.15

35

3.3

Post-published documents

 

 

T 1329/11 3.3.02 19.11.15

T 2059/13 3.3.01 07.12.15

36

36

4.

The requirement of sufficiency of disclosure in the biotechnology field

 

4.1

Level of disclosure required for medical use

 

 

T 895/13 3.3.04 21.05.15

38

4.2

Deposit of living material

 

 

T 2542/12 3.3.08 23.02.16

39

5.

The relationship between Article 83 and Article 84 EPC

 

 

T 1691/11 3.2.06 03.12.15

T 1727/12 3.2.05 01.02.16

40

41

 

 

 

D.

Priority

 

1.

Entitlement to priority – successor in title

 

 

T 577/11 3.2.05 14.04.16

42

2.

Inventions relating to nucleotide and amino acid sequences

 

 

T 50/10 3.3.04 01.02.16

43

3.

Partial priority

 

 

G 1/15 29.11.16

44

 

 

 

E.

Amendments

 

1.

Article 123(2) EPC – added subject-matter

 

1.1

Gold standard

 

 

T 1363/12 3.2.06 12.12.14

46

1.2

No artificial and semantic construction

 

 

T 99/13 3.3.07 14.01.16

46

1.3

Amendment and clarity – inescapable trap

 

 

T 81/13 3.3.07 05.11.15

47

1.4

Disclaimer

 

1.4.1

Applicability of the gold standard set out in G 2/10 to undisclosed disclaimers

 

 

T 437/14 3.3.09 17.10.16

48

1.4.2

Drafting of disclaimers – clarity

 

 

T 2130/11 3.3.07 02.12.14

50

1.4.3

Availability of remaining subject matter at filing or priority date

 

 

T 1808/13 3.3.08 26.02.15

T 1441/13 3.3.08 09.09.14

50

50

1.5

Ranges – qualifiers "below" and "about"

 

 

T 1990/10 3.3.08 10.12.15

51

1.6

Deletion of essential feature

 

 

T 1515/11 3.4.03 29.01.16

52

2.

Article 123(3) EPC – extension of the protection conferred

 

2.1

Narrowing down a generic class or list of chemical compounds (open claims – "comprising")

 

 

T 1360/11 3.3.07 11.11.14

53

2.2

Replacement of drawings

 

 

T 236/12 3.2.01 14.11.14

54

2.3

Inescapable trap – not Article 123(2)- (3) EPC trap – lack of novelty due to loss of priority

 

 

T 1983/14 3.5.01 23.11.15

54

2.4

Change from a claim in Swiss-type form to a claim under the provisions of Article 54(5) EPC

 

 

T 1673/11  3.3.02 20.10.15

55

 

 

 

F.

Divisional applications – requirement of pending earlier application

 

 

J 23/13 3.1.01 30.03.15

J 22/13 3.1.01 01.09.15

56

56

 

 

 

III.

RULES COMMON TO ALL PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE EPO

 

 

 

 

A.

Legitimate expectations

 

 

T 595/11 3.2.04 27.05.15

T 105/11 3.5.07 10.03.16

T 1785/15 3.2.04 09.05.16

57

57

58

 

 

 

B.

Right to be heard

 

 

T 2238/11 3.3.04 08.10.15

T 738/13 3.2.06 01.07.16

T 1691/15 3.2.07 27.07.16

59

60

60

 

 

 

C.

Oral proceedings

 

1.

Request for oral proceedings – further oral proceedings before the same department

 

 

T 1548/11 3.2.05 22.09.15

61

2.

Changing the date of oral proceedings

 

 

T 1246/10 3.5.04 31.03.15

T 861/12 3.3.01 02.03.16

62

62

3.

Purpose of communication under Article 15(1) RPBA

 

 

T 1459/11 3.3.03 21.07.15

63

4.

Oral proceedings conducted by video conference

 

 

T 2068/14 3.5.06 30.07.15

63

5.

Handwritten amendments during oral proceedings before the board

 

 

T 37/12 3.2.01 02.10.14

64

 

 

 

D.

Time limits, further processing and interruption of proceeding

 

 

T 854/12 3.2.01 08.08.16

64

 

 

 

E.

Re-establishment of rights – merits of request

 

 

T 1101/14 3.5.06 12.12.14

T 1022/14 3.5.05 03.07.15

T 942/12 3.3.03 17.11.15

J 15/14 3.1.01 18.06.15

J 7/15 3.1.01 12.10.16

66

66

66

66

66

 

 

 

F.

Law of evidence

 

1.

Witness testimonies and expert opinions

 

 

T 2054/11 3.2.04 09.10.15

67

2.

Taking of evidence – right to be heard

 

 

T 2294/12 3.3.05 12.01.16

T 1363/14 3.2.01 30.05.16

68

68

3.

Probative value of evidence on a case-by-case basis

 

3.1

Witness testimony and written statements

 

 

T 2565/11 3.2.01 05.04.16

70

3.2

Archives and internet publications

 

 

T 2227/11 3.4.03 18.02.16

T 353/14 3.4.03 15.09.16

71

72

4.

Standard of proof

 

4.1

Public prior use

 

 

T 202/13 3.2.03 10.07.15

T 2338/13 3.3.05 29.09.16

73

74

4.2

Public availability of prior art documents

 

 

T 2451/13 3.3.09 14.01.16

75

5.

Burden of proof

 

5.1

Apportioning the burden of proof

 

 

T 30/15 3.2.07 20.01.16

76

5.2

Shifting the burden of proof

 

 

T 473/13 3.5.02 11.05.16

78

 

 

 

G.

Suspected partiality

 

 

T 355/13 3.5.02 18.11.15

79

 

 

 

H.

Formal aspects of decisions of EPO departments

 

 

T 1254/11 3.4.02 17.09.15

T 1088/11 3.4.03 17.06.16

80

80

 

 

 

I.

Correction of errors in decisions

 

 

T 1785/15 3.2.04 09.05.16

81

 

 

 

J.

European Patent Register

 

 

J 17/14 3.1.01 15.06.15

82

 

 

 

K.

Observations by third parties

 

 

T 1756/11 3.2.04 14.01.15

83

 

 

 

L.

Representation

 

1.

Authorisations for appointment of a representative

 

 

J 19/13 3.1.01 30.05.16

84

1.1

Sub-authorisations

 

 

T 2453/12 3.3.07 24.05.16

85

2.

Oral submissions by an accompanying person

 

 

T 1693/10 3.4.02 09.07.15

86

 

 

 

IV.

PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE EPO

 

 

 

 

A.

Examination procedure

 

1.

Amendments – discretion of the examining division under Rule 137(3) EPC

 

 

T 918/14 3.2.04 02.11.16

87

2.

Additional searches during examination

 

 

T 779/11 3.5.07 23.06.16

88

3.

Amendments relating to unsearched subject-matter - Rule 137(5) EPC

 

 

T 736/14 3.5.05 25.02.16

89

 

 

 

B.

Special features of opposition and appeal proceedings

 

1.

Transfer of party status

 

1.1

Transfer together with the business assets to which the opposition relates

 

 

T 423/11 3.5.06 11.03.15

90

1.2

Effect of finding that no transfer took place during opposition proceedings

 

 

T 194/15 3.3.04 09.03.16

91

2.

Intervention – procedural status of intervener

 

 

T 614/13 3.3.03 02.07.15

92

3.

Continuation of opposition proceedings after lapse or surrender

 

 

T 740/15 3.3.03 10.11.15

T 500/12 3.3.08 24.04.15

92

92

4.

Costs

 

 

T 383/13 3.3.07 17.12.15

93

 

 

 

C.

Opposition procedure

 

1.

Filing of the opposition in due time

 

 

T 2061/12 3.2.07 19.10.16

94

2.

Correction of opponent's name – evidence of original intention

 

 

T 615/14 3.3.09 27.10.15

95

3.

Fresh ground for opposition against amended claim

 

 

T 565/13 3.3.10 10.05.16

95

4.

Late filed submissions in opposition proceedings

 

 

T 1883/12 3.2.04 17.11.14

T 66/14 3.3.05 15.11.16

96

96

5.

Applicability of Rule 43(2) EPC in opposition proceedings

 

 

T 830/11 3.4.01 08.03.16

97

6.

Clarity of amendment – feature of granted claim taken out of context – applicability of G 3/14

 

 

T 248/13 3.3.09 12.07.16

99

 

 

 

D.

Appeal procedure

 

1.

Board competent to hear a case

 

 

T 854/12 3.2.01 08.08.16

99

2.

Form and time limit of appeal – appeal filed within the time limit

 

 

T 1325/15 3.5.07 07.06.16

101

3.

Reformatio in peius - exception to the prohibition

 

 

T 2129/14 3.2.02 01.06.16

102

4.

Late-filed submissions in appeal proceedings

 

4.1

Relevance

 

 

T 2054/11 3.2.04 09.10.15

T 2471/13 3.3.06 13.01.16

T 340/12 3.5.03 03.12.15

67103

104

104

4.2

Article 12(4) RPBA – general principles

 

 

T 1873/11 3.5.02 25.02.16

104

4.3

Communication of a board of appeal

 

 

T 1459/11 3.3.03 21.07.15

63104

4.4

Unsubstantiated requests

 

 

T 217/10 3.2.02 25.03.15

T 1890/09 3.2.02 26.03.15

T 1784/14 3.3.09 12.05.16

T 2288/12 3.2.03 06.10.15

T 2355/14 3.2.05 27.09.16

T 100/13 3.2.01 13.10.15

T 1533/13 3.3.09 08.12.15

105

105

105

105

106

106

107

4.5

Amendments after arrangement of the oral proceedings

 

 

T 416/12 3.2.04 14.06.16

107

4.6

Discretion of the boards to admit requests already refused by the department of first instance

 

 

T 182/12 3.5.02 20.10.16

T 971/11 3.2.05 04.03.16

T 490/13 3.3.07 10.05.16

T 820/14 3.5.06 29.11.16

T 1286/14 3.5.05 29.09.16

107

108

109

109

110

4.7

Late-filed arguments

 

 

T 55/11 3.2.05 16.02.16

111

4.8

Documents and evidence admitted

 

 

T 1830/11 3.2.07 29.07.15

112

4.9

New submissions in proceedings resumed before the boards

 

 

R 16/13 08.12.14

T 379/10 3.3.01 21.09.15

113

113

4.10

Continuation of the appeal proceedings after the end of oral proceedings

 

 

T 577/11 3.2.05 14.04.16

113

5.

Termination of appeal proceedings

 

5.1

Conditional withdrawal of appeal

 

 

T 1402/13 3.3.05 25.02.16

114

6.

Remittal to the department of first instance

 

6.1

Exercise of discretion to remit

 

 

T 985/11 3.3.04 09.09.15

114

6.2

Special reasons for not remitting the case

 

 

T 2171/14 3.2.06 31.05.16

T 1647/15 3.2.01 24.06.16

115

116

6.3

Binding effect of decision remitting case to department of first instance

 

 

T 2086/13 3.3.10 02.02.16

T 308/14 3.3.09 22.03.16

116

117

7.

Reimbursement of appeal fees

 

 

T 823/11 3.5.07 21.12.15

T 1824/15 3.5.06 26.07.16

T 1325/15 3.5.07 07.06.16

118

118

120

E.

Proceedings before the Enlarged Board of Appeal

 

 

G 1/14 19.11.15

R 19/12 12.04.16

R 16/13 08.12.14

R 2/14 22.04.16

R 8/15 18.07.16

121

122

123

124

125

 

 

 

III.

DISCIPLINARY BOARD OF APPEAL

 

 

 

 

1.

Marking of Paper C

 

 

D 11/14 10.02.15

126

2.

Pre-examination

 

 

D 1/15 04.05.16

D 1/16 25.08.16

D 4/16 30.08.16

D 5/16 25.08.16

D 6/16 11.11.16

D 10/16 05.09.16

D 15/16 07.09.16

127

127

127

127

127

127

127

 

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