II. Patent application and amendments
B.Unity of invention
C.Sufficiency of disclosure
- T 1558/21
1. Entspricht der Antrag, der der Entscheidung der Einspruchsabteilung zugrunde liegt, zum Zeitpunkt der Entscheidung nicht dem Willen einer Partei, so ist diese Partei beschwert und ihre Beschwerde gegen die Entscheidung zulässig (Punkt 1.1 der Entscheidungsgründe). 2. Die Kammer sieht es als erwiesen an, dass die Entscheidung der Einspruchsabteilung nicht auf der beabsichtigten Fassung des Hilfsantrags beruht, die in der mündlichen Verhandlung erörtert wurde. Im vorliegenden Fall hat die Einspruchsabteilung entweder über den falschen Antrag entschieden, der nicht dem Tenor der Entscheidung entspricht, oder aber über einen Antrag, zu dem die Parteien nicht gehört wurden. Beides stellt einen schwerwiegenden Verfahrensmangel dar, und daher ist die Entscheidung aufzuheben (Punkte 3.4 - 3.6 der Entscheidungsgründe). 3. Ein Fehler in einem während der mündlichen Verhandlung eingereichten Anspruchssatz, der Teil einer in der mündlichen Verhandlung verkündeten Entscheidung geworden ist, ist weder einer späteren Korrektur über Regel 140 EPÜ zugänglich, noch über Regel 139 EPÜ, sofern es ihm an der Offensichtlichkeit mangelt (Punkte 5.1 - 5.5 der Entscheidungsgründe).
- T 1099/21
Any unclarity that may arise from an ambiguity in an application as filed is to the detriment of a patent proprietor, who is ultimately responsible for the drafting of the application as filed and its claims. The fact that a feature in the application as filed is unclear cannot therefore justify or excuse the complete deletion of the unclear feature or its replacement by another feature if this results in an extension beyond the content of the application as filed. What prompted a patent proprietor to make a particular amendment to the claims cannot have any influence on the outcome of the assessment of the ground for opposition under Article 100(c) EPC (point 8 of the Reasons).
- T 424/21
1. If the deletion of dependent claims after notification of a summons to oral proceedings enhances procedural economy by clearly overcoming existing objections without giving rise to any new issues this might constitute cogent reasons justifying exceptional circumstances in the sense of Article 13(2) RPBA 2020.
2. For a first medical use of a substance or composition according to Article 54(4) EPC to be sufficiently disclosed it is not required to show the suitability for each and every disease, but it usually suffices to show that at least one medical use is credibly achieved.
- T 88/21
In view of the principles of multiple priorities and partial priority: undisclosed disclaimer based on a disclosure in an earlier application by the same applicant not allowed.
- T 1924/20
As to claim construction, see point 2.7 of the Reasons.
- T 500/20
Reasons 3.6. In claimed inventions that do not involve a range of parameter values or compositions but are directed at a concept expressed in terms of generic structural or functional features of an apparatus or of a method, it is not enough to demonstrate insufficiency to conceive of an example that falls within the terms of the claim that does not work because it does not achieve the claimed effect fully or at all so that therefore the invention would not be sufficiently disclosed across the entire breadth of the claim.
- T 169/20
1. The provisions in Article 84 EPC and Rules 42 and 43 EPC provide an adequate legal basis for claim interpretation when assessing patentability. In particular, the requirement that the claims shall be "supported by the description" in Article 84 EPC, 2nd sentence, indicates that the description may be relied upon as an aid or support for understanding the subject-matter of the claims. 2. However, as implicitly derivable from this provision, the support of the description for interpreting the claims should only be resorted to in the exceptional cases where the subject-matter of the invention and/or its technical context needs to be clarified, and may only be applicable when the invention in the description corresponds to the invention as claimed. 3. The support of the description should, in any case, not be used for restricting or modifying the subject-matter of the invention beyond what a person skilled in the art would understand when reading the wording of the claims within the relevant technical context.
- T 3097/19
1. If a request is not admitted because earlier objections are not overcome, Rule 111(2) EPC requires that these earlier objections be made explicit in the decision (see reasons 3).
2. Non-convergence of requests is, on its own, not a sufficient reason for non-admittance. It must be reasoned that and why non-convergent requests affect procedural economy in view of the particular circumstances of the case (see reasons 4).
3. The purpose of the claims to define the matter for which protection is sought (Article 84 EPC) imparts requirements on the application as a whole, in addition to the express requirements that the claims be clear, concise and supported by the description. The Board deems it to be an elementary requirement of a patent as a legal title that its extent of protection can be determined precisely. Whether this is the case for a specific patent application (or an amended patent) can only be decided with due consideration of the description. Claims and description do not precisely define the matter for which protection is sought if they contradict each other (see reasons 27 to 34).
- T 2194/19
The requirement that the claims are to be supported by the description under Article 84, second sentence, EPC does not necessarily mean that all the "embodiments" of the description of a patent application have to be covered by the (independent) claims, i.e. that all the embodiments must fall within the scope of those claims (see point 6.2.2 of the Reasons).
- T 1761/19
Interprétation des revendications de procédé comportant des caractéristiques de type produit (que l'on pourrait qualifier de revendications « process-by-product ») (voir le point 1.1.4 des motifs)
- T 1553/19
The normal rule of claim construction of reading a feature specified in a claim in its broadest technically meaningful sense corresponds to determining the broadest scope encompassed by the subject-matter being claimed according to a technically sensible reading. In the case of a feature defined in a positive manner, which imposes the presence of a specific element, this is effectively achieved by giving to the element in question its broadest technically sensible meaning. However, for a feature defined in a negative manner, which excludes the presence of a specific element, the broadest scope of the claim corresponds to the narrowest (i.e. most limited) technically sensible definition of the element to be excluded. (Reasons, point 5.7)
- T 1473/19
1.) Article 69 EPC in conjunction with Article 1 of the Protocol thereto can and should be relied on when interpreting claims and determining the claimed subject-matter in proceedings before the EPO, including for the purpose of assessing compliance with Article 123(2) EPC (Reasons 3.1-3.15). 2.) Although Article 69(1), second sentence, EPC requires that generally account be taken of the description and the drawings when interpreting a claim, the primacy of the claims according to Article 69(1), first sentence, EPC limits the extent to which the meaning of a certain claim feature may be affected by the description and the drawings (Reasons 3.16-3.16.2). 3.) Claim interpretation is overall a question of law which must as such ultimately be answered by the deciding body, and not by linguistic or technical experts. It does, however, involve the appraisal of linguistic and technical facts which may be supported by evidence submitted by the parties (Reasons 3.17).
- T 2293/18
Stützung der Ansprüche durch die Beschreibung, s. Punkt 3.3.5
- T 1303/18
If the patent proprietor introduces various differences between the definition of a certain compound in a granted claim and that in the priority application and if despite these differences, the patent proprietor, in arguing that the effective date of the subject-matter of the granted claim is the claimed priority date, asserts that the compound of the granted claim is the same as that disclosed in the priority application, it is the patent proprietor who bears the burden of proving this assertion (point 2.13 of the reasons).
- T 1024/18
Necessity to adapt the description (Reasons 3)
- T 2766/17
Statements in the description contradicting the plain claim wording may cast doubts as to the intended meaning of this wording. Under such circumstances an objection under Article 84 EPC has to be raised.
- J 3/21
1. Mere inconsistencies among the indications in the request for grant of a European patent (EPO Form 1001), and between some of them and the originally filed application documents, are not sufficient to prove an alleged obvious error or the obviousness of a correction offered under Rule 139 EPC.
2. The ban on corrections under Rule 139 EPC by replacement of at least the complete description is categorical.
- G 2/21
I. Evidence submitted by a patent applicant or proprietor to prove a technical effect relied upon for acknowledgement of inventive step of the claimed subject-matter may not be disregarded solely on the ground that such evidence, on which the effect rests, had not been public before the filing date of the patent in suit and was filed after that date.
II. A patent applicant or proprietor may rely upon a technical effect for inventive step if the skilled person, having the common general knowledge in mind, and based on the application as originally filed, would derive said effect as being encompassed by the technical teaching and embodied by the same originally disclosed invention.
- Annual report: case law 2022
- Summaries of decisions in the language of the proceedings