1.2. Application of the rules of interpretation
This section provides further examples, along with the related arguments, of how the interpretation methods set out above in this chapter, particularly in III.H.1.1.2, have been applied.
In consolidated cases G 2/12 and G 2/13 (OJ 2016, A27 and OJ 2016, A28) the term "essentially biological processes for the production of plants" in Art. 53(b) EPC needed to be construed pursuant to the general rules of interpretation. The Enlarged Board noted that it was established in the jurisprudence that the principles of interpretation provided for in Arts. 31 and 32 of the Vienna Convention were to be applied when interpreting the EPC. This question was to be analysed by means of a methodical interpretation of Art. 53(b) EPC in respect of, primarily, its wording and, secondarily, considering also the legislator's intention and the aspects of systematic and historical interpretation. In particular, it applied various methodical lines of interpretation which included grammatical, systematic and teleological interpretations as well as supplementary means of interpretation, principally, the preparatory work. None of these lines of interpretation led the Enlarged Board to conclude that the term "essentially biological processes for the production of plants" extended beyond the processes to products defined or obtained by such processes. This result was confirmed when the preparatory work of the EPC was taken into account as a supplementary means of interpretation.
Importantly, while G 3/19 ultimately abandoned the interpretation of Art. 53(b) EPC arrived at in G 2/12, in view of how the law had developed in the meantime, it did not call into question the principle behind applying the various methods of interpretation.
A number of more recent decisions and opinions likewise give extensive accounts of the rules for interpreting the EPC and how they are to be applied. This is true of the aforementioned opinion G 3/19, which addressed each of the various methods of interpretation in turn. Decision G 1/18 (OJ 2020, A26) too contains several passages recapitulating the rules for interpreting the EPC (point III of the Reasons) and dealing with their application to the point of law referred in that case (in particular points IV and X of the Reasons). See also G 1/19 (pedestrian simulation), G 4/19 (double patenting) and G 1/21 of 16 July 2021 date: 2021-07-16 (OJ 2022, A49) (oral proceedings by videoconference).