Opposition Matters 2022

Opposition Matters

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Opposition Matters is the EPO's leading event for professional users wanting to keep up to date with the latest and most relevant developments in opposition proceedings.

Speakers from several EPO departments, co-presenting alongside senior European patent attorneys, will provide insights into the best practices they have developed over years of opposition experience.

This year's event will not only focus on procedural and substantive aspects of opposition proceedings such as amendments, late filing of submissions and auxiliary requests, there will also be an exchange of experience on how all parties involved in the proceedings collaborate, and a look at what key developments can be expected in the opposition area in future.

Panel discussions will round up this year’s conference. 

This high-level event is once again organised in close co-operation with the epi.  

Who should attend

This event is intended for patent attorneys, and particularly those who are active in opposition proceedings before the EPO.

Event details

Zurückliegende Veranstaltung
13:00 - 17:30 h
Online event



Thursday, 24 November 2022
09.00 hrs



Steve Rowan, Vice-President Patent Granting Process, EPO

Julia Gwilt, chair of the epi Professional Education Committee

09.10 hrs

The new PD Opposition and Centralised Formalities at the EPO: mission and vision 


Patrick Bodart, Principal Director, Opposition and Centralised Formalities, EPO  

09.30 hrs

Panel discussion

“Putting yourself in the others’ shoes”- how to improve collaboration of all parties involved 



Frédéric Bockstahl, Examiner, EPO 


Julian Crump, European patent attorney, epi 

Howard Read, European patent attorney, epi

Alex Gardiner, examiner, EPO

Tobias Irmscher, lawyer, Patent Law and Procedures, EPO  

10.30 hrs


10.45 hrs

Presentation & Panel discussion

Amendments in opposition proceedings / Handling of auxiliary requests at oral proceedings: focus on number and divergence


Richard Paalman, Director, Opposition and Centralised Formalities, EPO 


Jonathan Stafford, European patent attorney, epi

Huijb Dorpema, examiner, EPO

Britta Kley, lawyer, Patent Law and Procedures, EPO

12.00 hrs



Richard Paalman, Director, Opposition and Centralised Formalities, EPO 

Frédéric Bockstahl, examiner, EPO

12.15 hrs Closing by Moderator & End of Day 1
Friday, 25 November 2022
09.00 hrs

Late-filed submissions in opposition: facts, evidence and arguments


Britta Kley, lawyer, Patent Law and Procedures, EPO

09.45 hrs

Quality management in Opposition 


Suzanne Herrera, Director, Quality and Practice Harmonisation, EPO

Pasquale Foglia, Director, Opposition and Centralised Formalities, EPO

10.30 hrs


10.45 hrs

Dos and don’ts in oral proceedings


Nataša Doslik, senior expert, EPO

Joachim Renken, European patent attorney, epi  

11.30 hrs

Panel discussion

Opposition proceedings in a changing world

(societal, tools, procedures)



Vagn Nissen, Director, Opposition and Centralised Formalities, EPO


Introduction (10 min) to panel discussion:

Roberta Romano-Götsch, Chief Sustainability Officer, EPO



Sébastien Nicolai, examiner, EPO

David Mazur, European patent attorney, epi

Hansjörg Dinger, European patent attorney, epi

Nyske Blokhuis, European patent attorney, epi

12.30 hrs



Patrick Bodart, Principal Director, Opposition and Centralised Formalities, EPO  

12.40-12.45 hrs

Closing (by moderator)

Referent/innen und Podiumsteilnehmer/innen



Alex Gardiner, team manager/examiner, Digital Technology (Administrative Data Processing), EPO. Studied electrical and electronic engineering at the University of Aberdeen. Worked as telecoms engineer and marine radio operator on North Sea oil platforms. Joined the EPO in 1991 as an examiner in the field of electrical connectors and analogue circuitry and has worked mostly in Munich but also in the Hague from 1997-2007, during the increase in CII/internet-based applications. Currently working in the field of data processing. Has been involved in procedural changes around the transition from divided search and examination to current examination practice, drafting of training material, teaching and coaching newcomers and consideration of differing practices in other jurisdictions, as well as the rapid transition to VICO proceedings. Holds the EQE.   

Britta Kley, lawyer, Patent Law, EPO. Studied law at the University of Trier and at the University of East Anglia. Doctor of Laws. Worked as a litigator for an international law firm. Joined the EPO in 2004 and Directorate Patent Law in 2012.

David Mazur, General Counsel for R&D at Nestlé, leading a global team of patent attorneys, lawyers, IP analysts and paralegals responsible for enabling and protecting Nestlé’s innovations. European Patent Attorney. Before joining Nestlé he was responsible for IP management and licensing at CERN in Geneva. Prior to that was a patent examiner at the EPO in The Hague. Holds an M.Sc. in computer engineering KU Leuven and an LL.M. in International Business Law from the University of London.

Dominika Baráč, examiner, Food Technology & Nutrition, EPO. Studied food engineering at TU München/Weihenstephan. Worked as a product and process development manager for BakeMark Europe/CMS n.v. Joined the EPO in 2008 as an examiner in the field of food science and technology. Member of the centralised opposition directorate with over 12 years’ experience in opposition work as chair and first member. Responsible as programme area manager at the European Patent Academy for the training of patent attorneys. Holds the EQE.

Frédéric Bockstahl, examiner, Measuring Material Properties, EPO. Graduated from Strasbourg University, holds a PhD in nuclear chemistry. Joined the EPO in 2001 as a patent examiner in Applied Physics. Domain of competence ranges from sampling and measuring materials, including optical materials, especially ophthalmic lenses, to chemical analysis. Since 2007, highly involved in opposition procedures as first member and chairperson on numerous cases covering technical fields ranging from mechanics to chemistry. Responsible for the drafting and co-ordination of the opposition training courses office wide.

Hansjörg Dinger, European patent attorney. Holds a PhD in chemistry from the University of Freiburg. Started as patent advisor in the pharmaceutical industry in Germany. Joined Nestlé in 2014 where is Patent Counsel for the food business, as part of the Legal R&D team. Working in highly competitive areas like plant-based meat alternatives, regularly represents Nestlé in opposition cases.

Howard Read, European patent attorney. Holds a PhD in metallurgy from the University of Cambridge, and an LL.M. in IP law from the University of Manchester. Careers in academia and industry before entering the patent profession. Joined Appleyard Lees IP LLP in 2014, qualified as a European patent attorney in 2017 and became a partner in 2020. Frequently represents proprietors and opponents, including as strawman, at the EPO.

Huijb Dorpema, examiner, TC Mobility and Space Technologies, EPO. Obtained an MSc in aerospace engineering from Delft University of Technology. Joined the EPO in 1990 as an examiner in the field of aeronautics, where he currently mainly works, with excursions in general vehicle technology. Member of the Opposition directorate as chair and first examiner. Has been involved in coaching newcomers and more experienced examiners. Participant in various projects aimed at modernising patent related processes and tools, including for opposition.

Joachim Renken, European patent attorney. Studied chemistry at the Universities of Aachen, Montpellier and Heidelberg and holds a PhD from the University of Heidelberg in the field of biophysical chemistry. Joined HOFFMANN EITLE in 1996, qualifying as a German patent attorney in 2000 and as a European patent attorney in 2001. Particularly active in the life sciences, mostly in contentious proceedings - EPO oppositions and appeals, nullity proceedings before the German Federal Patent Court and the German Federal Court of Justice, and infringement proceedings before the (Higher) Regional Courts. Over the last two decades, has presented patentees and opponents in more than 200 oral proceedings.

Jonathan Stafford, Partner at Marks & Clerk, European patent attorney, Chartered UK Patent Attorney. Holds an MChem from the University of Manchester, and a PhD in organic chemistry from the University of Cambridge, and went on to adopt a postdoctoral pharmaceutical research position within the Process Research & Development team at AstraZeneca, before entering the patent profession in 2007. Predominantly works within the chemistry and life sciences fields, with particular expertise in speciality chemicals, therapeutics, and medical and diagnostic devices. EPO oppositions represent a large portion of his practice and routinely represents patentees and opponents in oppositions and appeal hearings at the EPO, including multi-party proceedings.

Julia Gwilt, chair of the epi Professional Education Committee and European patent attorney. After a mathematics degree at Cambridge University and further study at the Ecole Centrale de Paris, joined the patent profession and qualified as a European patent attorney in 2001. Has worked in private practice in the Cambridge area for over 20 years specialising in software inventions, including co-ordinating a portfolio of over 60 opposition matters. Oversaw the UK professional examinations until March 2020.

Julian Crump, Chartered and European patent attorney. Holds a MA in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University, with focus on chemistry. Began training as a patent attorney at a London firm in 1989, qualifying as a CPA in 1993 and as an EPA in 1995. Has been working as a patent attorney for more than 30 years and joined the Abel & Imray LLP in 2018. Focuses on pharmaceuticals and medicinal chemistry, biotechnology, vaccines and diagnostics/prognostics, but also with experience in adjustable focal power lenses, augmented reality devices, and food technology. Acts for a diverse range of clients ranging from start-ups to multinational corporations and has been involved in numerous oral proceedings at the EPO. Took part in one of the earliest VICO hearings before the Board of Appeal. Served as president of the International Federation of Intellectual Property Attorneys from 2018 to 2022. Now serves as President of Honour of FICPI. Won the Gill Prize for the highest marks overall in the UK qualifying examinations and the Ballantyne Prize for top marks in the Infringement & Validity paper .

Nataša Doslik, senior expert, Materials & Production, EPO. Holds a PhD in chemistry and works, beside the tasks as examiner, as trainer for various topics officewide, including opposition. Since 2005 has been chairing opposition oral proceedings and is part of the expert group of the pilot project launched in 2020 for oral proceedings by videoconference before opposition divisions, as well as part of the expert group of the Principal Directorate Opposition and Central Formalities.

Nyske Blokhuis, Dutch & European patent attorney, associate partner at EP&C. Co-founder of and tutor at the EQE-training at Maastricht University, tutor at the Oral Proceedings workshop of the European Patent Academy. Joined EP&C in 2001 and has been involved in oppositions and appeals right from the start. Background in mechanical and materials engineering. Works for a variety of clients, e.g. in automotive, heating systems, heavy lifting equipment, computer implemented inventions. Expert in drafting patent applications for cases in which opposition can be expected. Involved in on-the-job training of trainee patent attorneys and junior patent attorneys, e.g. training people for oral proceedings.

Pasquale Foglia, Director, Opposition Development, EPO. Studied electronic engineering at Federico II University. In 1991 joined the EPO as examiner. Director in DG Operations since 2006. In January 2020 joined the Office of the Vice-President Patent Granting Process, and since April 2020 chairs the EPO Task Force responsible for the pilot project for oral proceedings in Opposition by video conference. In 2021 also co-ordinated the Procedural Support teams in Principal Directorate Quality. Holds the EQE.

Patrick Bodart, Principal Director, Opposition and Central Formalities, EPO. Has occupied several senior management positions at the EPO in the last decades, covering operational management of examiners and formalities officers in different technical areas, as well as strategic advisory roles related to classification, business change management, organisational risk management, automation, and organisational restructuring. Was also the project leader in 2002-2003 of what was then called the “enhanced European search report” (search report with written opinion) and one of the drivers of bringing search and examination together under the so-called BEST programme. Started as an examiner in 1989 and has a degree as a mechanical engineer with specialisation in robotics, supplemented with a master’s in business administration.

Richard Paalman, Director, Oppositions Materials & Production, EPO. Holds a MSc in chemical engineering. Started as a patent attorney in the chemical industry. Joined the EPO as a patent examiner in 1990, becoming a director in the applied polymers sector in 2004. From 2021, Director Opposition and Central Formalities in the Healthcare, Biotechnology and Chemistry sector. Since April 2022 Director of Oppositions in Materials & Production.

Roberta Romano-Götsch, Chief Sustainability Officer, EPO. Passionate about UN SDGs and ESG. Prior to that has served as Chief Operating Officer of the sector Healthcare, Biotechnology and Chemistry, and earlier of the sector Mobility and Mechatronics, where was responsible for leading more than 1600 patent examiners, managers, formalities and administrative staff in Munich, Berlin and The Hague. Holds a PhD in organic chemistry from the Technical University of Munich and was R&D product manager at Procter & Gamble before joining the EPO in 1997.

Sébastien Nicolai, examiner, Agri-Food, EPO. Studied mechanical engineering at RWTH Aachen with a focus on turbomachinery and jet engine propulsion. Joined the EPO as an examiner in 2014 in the field of pumps and compressors. Worked in various fields since then, currently in agriculture. Supports the Opposition directorate since 2018 as first examiner and chairperson. Holds the EQE.

Steve Rowan, Vice-President Patent Granting Process, EPO. Responsible for the entire patent granting process, from the receiving of applications up to and including opposition and the grant of the patent. Is also programme manager of the Diversity & Inclusion programme which is part of Goal 1 of the Strategic Plan 2023 of the EPO. Before joining the EPO, held a number of senior leadership roles in the Intellectual Property Office of the United Kingdom. These included the position of Director of Registered Rights, responsible for the end-to-end processing of patent, trademark and design applications and the associated tribunal functions. Joined the UK IPO in March 1991 and, in addition to operational roles, sat as a Principal Hearing Officer and worked on a range of policy issues covering industrial property and copyright. Was Head of the UK Delegation to the Beijing and Marrakesh Diplomatic Conferences and was seconded to the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit (2004) and HM Treasury (2006), working on the Gowers Review of IP. Holds an LL.B. (Hons) from the University of the West of England.

Suzanne Herrera, Director, Quality and Practice Harmonisation, EPO. Holds a MSc in chemical engineering. Joined the EPO as a patent examiner in the pharmaceutical field in 1988, becoming a director in the applied polymers sector in 2012. From 2018, Director of Opposition and Central Formalities in the Healthcare, Biotechnology and Chemistry sector. Since September 2020, Director of Quality and Practice Harmonisation.

Tobias Irmscher, lawyer, Patent Law and Procedures, EPO. Studied law at the Universities of Marburg and Würzburg (Dr. iur.) and holds an LL.M. from the London School of Economics. Joined the EPO in 2006 and the directorate Patent Law in 2012. Co-author of the Benkard EPC commentary and lecturer in intellectual property law at the International Hellenic University.

Vagn Nissen, Director, Oppositions Health, EPO. Member of the Examination Board for the EQE. Prior to joining the EPO in 1999, was working as Danish patent attorney in Copenhagen. Holds a BSc in process engineering, an MSc in electrochemistry and a degree in engineering business administration.




Weitere Informationen

Technical requirements

To attend this online event you need a computer or mobile device with a high-speed internet connection. If using a computer, you can access Zoom from your web browser (Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Chromium (Microsoft) Edge) without downloading any additional software. However, to take advantage of all Zoom features (like typing your questions in the Zoom Q&A panel or downloading files from the chat), we recommend installing the Zoom desktop client app on your computer (Windows and Mac versions available).

To join via mobile device, simply download the Zoom mobile app for your iOS or Android device from the App Store or Google Play Store. Information on how to join the session will be sent on the day before the event.

We recommend using a headset to enhance your Zoom experience.

Please see the Data Protection Statement of the European Patent Office on processing personal data when using Zoom in virtual events, including oral proceedings by VICO.

A few days before the online conference you will receive the Zoom link to join the event. 

Recording and data protection

Please be informed that event will be recorded and that the recorded material will be used for documentation and promotional purposes.

Organised by

European Patent Academy
European Patent Office
Bob-van-Benthem-Platz 1
80469 Munich

Event code