EUROPEAN PATENT OFFICE
Information from the EPO
Notice from the European Patent Office dated 28 August 2020 concerning the communication for information purposes of observations made by parties to opposition proceedings to the other parties to the proceedings
Following the introduction of the consolidated list of opposition citations,1 parties to opposition proceedings can now easily identify all documents (patent and non-patent literature) filed by other parties to the proceedings and download them from the European Patent Register. In line with user wishes, the EPO has therefore decided to extend the practice applied to documents specified as patent documents2 to other documents filed in opposition proceedings. As a result, it will no longer automatically transmit documents which are available for inspection in the Register.3
In application of Rule 79 EPC, the EPO will continue to communicate notices of opposition and observations to the other parties for information. It will also communicate cited documents which are not available for inspection in the European Patent Register (e.g. models or videos) or which are not easily legible (e.g. colour documents). Paper copies of documents in the Register will continue to be made available to parties to opposition proceedings free of charge on request.
Parties to oral proceedings are advised to check the electronic file via the European Patent Register in advance of the proceedings to ensure that they are in possession of all the relevant documents.
This improved service applies to documents filed on or after 1 October 2020.
This notice supersedes the notice from the European Patent Office dated 3 June 2009 concerning the communication of parties' observations to the other parties in opposition proceedings for information (OJ EPO 2009, 434).
1 Notice from the European Patent Office dated 13 March 2020 concerning improved online file inspection in the European Patent Register of documents cited in opposition proceedings (OJ EPO 2020, A31).