https://www.epo.org/de/node/annual-report-2023-boards-appeal-european-patent

Annual Report 2023 of the Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office

 
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The Annual Report 2023 of the Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office was published today. It is available in English, French and German on the website of the Boards of Appeal.

Following the structural reform of the Boards of Appeal, the President of the Boards of Appeal formulated objectives to reduce the number of pending cases to below 7 000 and to settle 90% of cases within 30 months. By the end of 2023 the number of pending cases was reduced to below 5 000 and the number of pending cases older than 30 months was decreased to 13.4%. These impressive results could only be achieved thanks to the exemplary commitment and engagement of the entire staff. In 2023 the Boards of Appeal also achieved the highest productivity ever, increasing their productivity from 1 January 2017 to 31 December 2023 by 29.7%.

In view of these achievements, a more ambitious timeliness objective was formulated by the President of the Boards of Appeal for the next years, namely that 90% of the cases should not be older than 24 months by the end of 2025. The boards will gradually start dealing with appeals as soon as they are pending before them. To support the achievement of this new timeliness objective, adjustments to the Rules of Procedure of the Boards of Appeal were developed in dialogue with the user community and entered into force on 1 January 2024. The most important change is that the boards are now able to summon parties to oral proceedings at an earlier stage.

The Boards of Appeal currently provide for several modes of oral proceedings: oral proceedings by videoconference, in-person oral proceedings and mixed-mode oral proceedings. The user consultation on videoconferencing in oral proceedings before the Boards of Appeal confirmed the widespread acceptance of this format and its implementation at the highest quality level. Users particularly appreciated the technical implementation and the structured conduct, as well as time and cost savings and reduced environmental impact. In 2023, 57% of a total of 1629 oral proceedings were held by videoconference.

Quality remains of the utmost importance. The boards put an emphasis on internal training and dialogue platforms to promote experience sharing and discourse. This included in-depth exchanges with their judicial counterparts. The boards also made it a priority to foster the dialogue with the newly established UPC to promote harmonisation of European patent law.

 

Contact

Nikolaus Obrovski
Jeannine Hoppe
Spokespersons of the Boards of Appeal
Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office
Richard-Reitzner-Allee 8 | 85540 Haar | Germany

boa-press@epo.org