Notice from the European Patent Office dated 1 July 2024 concerning the continuation of examination and opposition proceedings in view of referral G 1/24

This text is intended for publication in the Official Journal (OJ) of the EPO. It is made available in advance on the EPO website merely as a courtesy to the public. Only the text subsequently published in the officially certified PDF file of the OJ is authentic. It cannot be guaranteed that this advance version accurately replicates that text.
  1. Referral G 1/24 ("Heated aerosol") is pending before the Enlarged Board of Appeal. The referring board seeks to clarify three questions.

    (1)  Is Article 69(1), second sentence, EPC and Article 1 of the Protocol on the Interpretation of Article 69 EPC to be applied on the interpretation of patent claims when assessing the patentability of an invention under Article 52 to 57 EPC?

    (2)  May the description and figures be consulted when interpreting the claims to assess patentability and, if so, may this be done generally or only if the person skilled in the art finds a claim to be unclear or ambiguous when read in isolation?, and

    (3)  May a definition or similar information on a term used in the claims which is explicitly given in the description be disregarded when interpreting the claims to assess patentability and, if so, under what conditions?

    The questions referred to the Enlarged Board of Appeal can be found in decision T 439/22.
  2. To ensure the proper functioning of the EPO and for legal certainty, the President of the EPO has decided that proceedings before the examining and opposition divisions should continue.
  3. This notice applies with immediate effect.