T 2575/16 (Missing statement of grounds/SONY CORPORATION) 01-06-2017
Browser apparatus with address registering and browser system
I. The appeal is directed against the decision of the Examining Division to refuse European patent application No. 10010577.4 announced in oral proceedings on 18 May 2016, the written reasons of which were posted on 10 June 2016.
II. The applicant (Sony Corporation) filed a notice of appeal on 28 July 2016 and paid the appeal fee on the same day. The notice contained a conditional request for oral proceedings.
III. By communication of 8 December 2016, sent by registered letter with advice of delivery (the receipt of which was confirmed by the appellant on 19 December 2016), the Registry of the Board informed the appellant that it appeared from the file that the written statement of grounds of appeal had not been filed, and that it was therefore to be expected that the appeal would be rejected as inadmissible pursuant to Article 108, third sentence, EPC in conjunction with Rule 101(1) EPC. The appellant was informed that any observations had to be filed within two months of notification of the communication. The appellant was furthermore informed that, unless a statement to the contrary was made by the appellant within the specified time period, the Board would assume that the request for oral proceedings did not apply to the issue of inadmissibility of the appeal since no grounds of appeal had been filed in due time.
IV. No reply was received within the deadline set.
1. No written statement setting out the grounds of appeal was filed within the time limit provided by Article 108, third sentence, EPC in conjunction with Rule 126(2) EPC. In addition, neither the notice of appeal nor any other document filed contains anything that could be regarded as a statement of grounds pursuant to Article 108 EPC and Rule 99(2) EPC. Therefore, the appeal has to be rejected as inadmissible (Rule 101(1) EPC).
2. Notwithstanding the appellant's conditional request for oral proceedings made in the notice of appeal, the present decision can be taken without the appointment of oral proceedings. Since the appellant has not provided any statement as to the substantive merits of its appeal, has not given any explanation or comments as to why no statement of grounds had been filed, and has not reacted to the Board Registry's notification of an impending rejection of the appeal as inadmissible, the Board considers the initial conditional request for oral proceedings to have become obsolete as a consequence of the subsequent course of action taken. The lack of any response to the Board's notification is considered to be equivalent to an abandonment of the request for oral proceedings (see T 1042/07 of 22 August 2008, point 3 of the reasons; T 234/10 of 25 November 2010, point 2 of the reasons).
For these reasons it is decided that:
The appeal is rejected as inadmissible.