Opposition Matters 2023

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Opposition Matters

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Opposition Matters is the EPO's leading event for professional users wanting to keep up to date with the latest and most relevant developments in opposition proceedings.

Event details

Événement passé
13:00 - 17:30 h
Online event
9:15 - 13:00 h
Online event


Please note that the time zone for the programme is CET and timings are subject to change.

Moderator: Dominika Baráč, examiner & programme area manager Patent attorneys, EPO

Thursday, 23 November 2023
13.00 hrs

Steve Rowan, Vice-President, Patent Granting Process, EPO  
Peter Thomsen, President of the epi  

13.10 hrs Latest developments in opposition proceedings
Patrick Bodart, Principal Director, Opposition and Centralised Formalities, EPO  
13.25 hrs

Panel discussion
Opportunities with UPC and Opposition
Moderator: Vagn Nissen, Director, Opposition and Centralised Formalities, EPO

Heli Pihlajamaa, Principal Director Patent Law and Procedures, EPO
Klaus Grabinski, President of the Court of Appeal, UPC
Tiem Reijns, European patent attorney, epi  

14.30 hrs Break
14.45 hrs

“Inventive step-how to convince an Opposition Division?”
Speaker: Wim van der Poel, examiner, EPO
Leythem Wall, European patent attorney, epi 

15.45 hrs

Panel discussion
Constructive participation of all parties in oral proceedings
Moderator: Elsie Cielen, examiner, EPO

Stephanie Urbahn, examiner, EPO  
Benedikt Schlicke, examiner , EPO
Ilya Kazi, European patent attorney, epi  

16.45 hrs Closing by Dominika Baráč
17.00 hrs Voluntary virtual networking
17.30 hrs End of day 1
Friday, 24 November 2023
09.15 hrs Presentation
How to avoid pitfalls - Article 123(2) EPC/ Article 123(3) EPC
Presenter: Margarita Mader, examiner, EPO

Howard Read, European patent attorney, epi 

10.15 hrs Presentation
Taking of evidence
Presenter: Marko Schauwecker, lawyer, EPO 

Frédéric Bockstahl, examiner, EPO

11.00 hrs Break
11.15 hrs Presentation
Update on quality management in opposition
Presenter: Suzanne Herrera, Director, Quality and Practice Harmonisation, EPO
Pasquale Foglia, Director, Opposition and Centralised Formalities, EPO 
11.45 hrs

Panel discussion
How to deal effectively with Auxiliary requests
Moderator: Hervé Chabus, examiner, EPO

Renske,van Meerendonk-Heijman, European patent attorney, epi
Arie Blokland, European patent attorney, epi
Damien Trotereau, examiner, EPO  

12.45 hrs Wrap-up
Patrick Bodart, Principal Director, Opposition and Centralised Formalities, EPO
13.00 hrs Closing of conference by moderator


Speakers and panelists

Arie Blokland, Managing partner at AOMB (Algemeen Octrooi- en Merkenbureau), European and Dutch patent attorney and member of the Supervisory Board of AIPEX.   
Arie did his study Chemical Engineering at Technical University Delft and entered the patent profession in 1994. Predominantly works within the chemistry and chemical engineering fields, with particular expertise in optical fibers, industrial catalysts and fibre boards. EPO oppositions represent a large portion of his practice and routinely represents patentees and opponents in oppositions and appeal hearings at the EPO. Moreover, Arie is also experienced in restitutio in integrum cases, both before the Netherlands IP Office and the EPO.

Benedikt Schlicke, Senior Expert Examiner, EPO.
Benedikt studied general and organic chemistry in Berlin, where he obtained a Ph.D. in 1996. Before joining the European Patent Office in 1998, he took part in an EU post-doc program at the University of Bologna. At the EPO he works in the technical community “Materials & Production” with a focus on polymer chemistry. He started working as chair in opposition in 2005 and became senior expert examiner in 2015.

Dominika Baráč, Examiner, Food Technology & Nutrition, EPO.
Dominika studied food engineering at TU München/Weihenstephan. Worked as a product and process development manager for BakeMark Europe/CMS nv. Joined the EPO in 2008 as an examiner in the field of food science and technology. Member of the centralised opposition directorate with over 14 years’ experience in opposition work as chair and first member. Responsible as programme area manager at the European Patent Academy for the training of patent attorneys. Holds the EQE.

Elsie Cielen, Examiner & Team Manager Medical Use TH, EPO.
Elsie holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. She joined the EPO in 1999 and passed the EQE in 2012. She works in the field of second medical applications in search and examination and is since 2008 involved in opposition as first member and chairperson. From 2010 to 2018, she worked as an expert in Patent Procedures Management, where she was co-drafter of the EPC- and PCT-EPO Guidelines. She became Team Manager in 2019. 

Frédéric Bockstahl, Examiner, Measuring Material Properties, EPO.
Frédéric graduated from Strasbourg University, France, with a PhD in nuclear chemistry in 2000. Joined the European Patent Office in 2001 as a patent examiner in Applied Physics. His domain of competence ranges from sampling and measuring materials, including optical materials, especially ophthalmic lenses, to chemical analysis. Since 2007, Frédéric is highly involved in opposition procedures as first member and chairperson on numerous cases covering technical fields ranging from mechanics to chemistry. He is further responsible for the drafting and coordination of the opposition training courses office wide.

Heli Pihlajamaa, Principal Director, Patent Law and Procedures, EPO.
Heli is responsible for all patent law and procedures-related matters under the EPC and PCT, including operational developments, simplification and digitalisation of the procedures as well as policy aspects related to patentability. The principal directorate also deals with the Unitary Patent-related tasks assigned to the EPO. Heli studied Law at Helsinki University and at Max Planck Institute in Munich, and has written several books and articles on patent law.

Howard Read, European Patent Attorney, Appleyard Lees IP LLP.
Howard studied natural sciences in Cambridge, UK, where he obtained a MA and PhD, and later obtained a MSc in computing and a LLM in IP law. Before qualifying as a European Patent Attorney, Howard worked in academia and industry. Howard has a focus on opposition and appeal proceedings, including development of law and case law, at the EPO.

Ilya Kazi, European Patent Attorney, UK Chartered Patent Attorney, IK-IP
Ilya is a European Patent Attorney, UK Chartered Patent Attorney and qualified UK Higher Courts Litigator who has handled major patent litigation in the English High Court. He has run many tens of Oppositions and Appeals both as Patentee and Opponent including a number of multi-day multi-party hearings. He has a Masters in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University and works in technology ranging from mechanical and engineering through medical devices to software and AI where he is actively involved in ML development. He also runs a small vineyard and is a pilot so has a keen interest in agricultural and aeronautical technology.

Dr. Klaus Grabinski, President of the Court of Appeal and chairperson of the Presidium of the Unified Patent Court.
Since November 2022 Klaus is the President of the Court of Appeal and chairperson of the Presidium of the Unified Patent Court.  Before he served on the German Federal Court of Justice’s 10th Civil Division, including as the Deputy Presiding Justice of the Division that has, inter alia, jurisdiction on patent litigation matters. Prior to joining the German Federal Court of Justice in 2009, he held a number of judicial roles, including as a presiding judge of a patent litigation division at the Düsseldorf Regional Court and as a judge at the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court. He is co-author of a commentary on the European Patent Convention (Benkard, Europäisches Patentübereinkommen, 4th edition, 2023), a commentary on the German Patent Act (Benkard, Patentgesetz, 12th edition, 2023) and gives talks and takes part in panels at national and international conferences on IP matters. He was an external legally qualified member of the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office.

Leythem Wall, European and UK patent attorney and litigator, Oxon IP.
Leythem studied Chemistry at Oxford University, holds a postgraduate certificate in IP Litigation and Advocacy from Nottingham Law School, and a Diploma in European Patent Litigation from the University of Strasbourg. Prior to founding Oxon IP, he was a partner in European and US Intellectual Property law firms, and before then in-house patent counsel for ExxonMobil and AkzoNobel. Leythem specialises in EPO Oppositions and Appeals in the chemical, consumer products, energy, material, medical and pharmaceutical sectors.

Margarita Mader, Examiner, Natural Polymeric Products, EPO.
Margarita studied Chemistry in at LMU Munich and Lund University Sweden, graduating with a German “Diplom” equivalent to a master’s degree. After a period of research at EPF Lausanne, she started to work at the EPO in 2002. Apart from her work as patent examiner in the field of polymers, Margarita also worked several years as a project manager and presented on project and quality related topics to groups of examiners and managers.

Marko Schauwecker, lawyer, Patent Law, EPO Munich.
Marko joined the EPO in 2009. As legal member in oppositions, he regularly takes evidence by hearing witnesses and carrying out inspections.

Pasquale Foglia, Director, Opposition and Central Formalities, EPO.
Pasquale studied electronic engineering at Federico II University, Italy. In 1991 joined the EPO as examiner and later passed the EQE. Director in DG Operations since 2006. In 2020 joined the office of the EPO Vice-President Patent Granting Process. Chaired the EPO Task Force responsible for the pilot project for oral proceedings in Opposition by VICO and then joined the PD Opposition, where his main activities relate to quality, knowledge sharing, practice harmonisation and digital transformation.

Patrick Bodart, Principal Director for Opposition and Central Formalities, EPO.
Patrick has occupied several senior management positions at the EPO in the last decades covering operational management of examiners and formalities officers in different technical areas, as well as strategic advisory roles related to classification, business change management, organisational risk management, automation, and organisational restructuring. He was also the project leader in 2002-2003 of what was then called the “enhanced European search report” (search report with written opinion) and one of the drivers of bringing search and examination together under the so-called BEST programme. He started as an examiner in 1989 and has a degree as a mechanical engineer with specialisation in robotics, supplemented with a master’s in business administration.

Peter R. Thomsen, epi President, European Patent Institute.
Before becoming epi President in 2023, Peter was Chair of the epi Litigation Committee and epi Treasurer. As delegate he represents epi as observer at the UPC Administrative Committee. Since 2011 he has been a Swiss Patent Attorney, and he has been working in the Intellectual Property Function of the Novartis Group since 2001. Since 2012 he has been focusing on IP-policy work including implementation and further developing of the Nagoya Protocol/Access-and Benefit Sharing legislation. Further, he is chairman of the IP Expert Group of Swiss overall industry association economiesuisse. He studied biotechnological sciences at the Technical University Braunschweig (Germany), acquired Diploma in European Patent Litigation by CEIPI and holds the EQE. As co-author he contributed to several books in the patent field.

Renske van Meerendonk-Heijman, Sr Manager of the SABIC Polymers IP group.
Renske is leading a global team of IP counsels and paralegals and formalities officers. The SABIC Polymers IP group is responsible for enabling and protecting the innovations of SABIC’s Polymers business. The team is also responsible for the IP-related agreements (e.g. non-disclosure agreements, joint development agreements, licensing agreements) of SABIC’s Polymers business. She is a Dutch and European Patent Attorney and holds a CEIPI certificate in European Patent Litigation. In her more than 20 years of experience as a patent attorney, she has pleaded in at least 50 opposition/appeal hearings. Before joining SABIC, she worked as an outside counsel as IPecunia Patents and before that as an in-house patent attorney at DSM. She holds a cum laude M. Sc. in biochemistry from the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen.

Stephanie Urbahn, Examiner, Sanitary appliances and hydraulic engineering, EPO.
Stephanie studied civil engineering at the University of Bochum, DE and joined the EPO in 1998.
Responsible for classification and training of new examiners in this field. Started with opposition work about 15 years ago and has been participating in all roles of the opposition division, in cases of various technical areas and complexity levels.

Steve Rowan, Vice-President Patent Granting Process, EPO.
Steve joined the EPO in 2019 as Vice President for the patent granting process and as site manager for The Hague. His career in IP started in 1991 when he joined the UK intellectual Property Office.

Suzanne Herrera, Director, Quality and Practice Harmonisation EPO.
Suzanne holds a MSc in chemical engineering. Joined the EPO as a patent examiner in the pharmaceutical field in 1988, becoming a director in the applied polymers sector in 2012. From 2018 Director Opposition and Central Formalities in the Healthcare, Biotechnology and Chemistry sector. Since September 2020 Director Quality and Practice Harmonisation, EPO.

Tiem Reijns, Vice-President of epi and president of the Institute of Patent Attorneys in The Netherlands.
Tiem is current Vice-President of epi and president of the Institute of Patent Attorneys in The Netherlands. He is currently also chairman of Examination Committee III, entrusted with Paper D of the EQE, member of the Examination Board, and member of New EQE working group. After obtaining a degree in Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology from Delft University, Tiem has done research on pharmaceuticals for six years before joining the patent profession. As a Dutch and European Patent Attorney, Tiem works for a major multinational corporation as Vice-President Patents.

Vagn Nissen, Director, Opposition and Central Formalities, EPO
Vagn is a DG1 operational Opposition Director responsible for the area of Health as well as a member of the Examination Board for the EQE. Prior to joining the EPO in 1999 he was working as Danish patent attorney in Copenhagen. He holds a B.Sc. in Process Engineering, an M.Sc. in Electrochemistry and a degree in Engineering Business Administration (EBA).

Wim van der Poel, Senior Expert, Chemical Engineering, EPO.
Wim studied chemical engineering at Delft University of Technology. He joined the EPO in 1991 and passed the EQE in 1997. He is active in opposition since more than 20 years and has chaired more than 300 oppositions. He did brief studies at Stanford University concerning IP law. Wim is a member of the Examination Board of the EQE.  

Informations complémentaires

Speakers from several EPO departments, co-presenting alongside senior European patent attorneys, will provide insights into the best practices they have developed over years of opposition experience.

This year's event will address relevant developments of procedural and substantive aspects of opposition proceedings. Panel discussions will round up this year’s conference.

This high-level event is once again organised in close co-operation with the epi.  

Who should attend

This event is intended for patent attorneys, and particularly those who are active in opposition proceedings before the EPO.

Registration and payment

Registration fee

EUR 0 (online participation)

On the occasion of the 50 years of the EPC the online attendance to this years' conference is free of charge.

Registration deadline

Registration closed.

Technical requirements

You will receive the Zoom link to join the event latest one day before the conference.

To attend the online part of the event you need a computer or mobile device with a high-speed internet connection. However, to take advantage of all Zoom features, we strongly recommend installing the Zoom desktop client app on your computer (Windows and Mac versions available). To join via mobile device, simply download the Zoom mobile app for your iOS or Android device from the App Store or Google Play Store.

You can also access Zoom from a web browser (Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Chromium (Microsoft) Edge) without downloading any additional software, however some features (like selecting microphone, speaker or camera, entering breakout rooms, downloading files from the chat) might then be restricted.

We recommend using a headset to enhance your Zoom experience.

Recording and data protection

Please be informed that event will be recorded and that the recorded material will be used for documentation and promotional purposes.

Data Protection Statement of the European Patent Office on processing personal data when using Zoom in virtual events including oral proceedings by VICO 

Organised by

European Patent Academy
European Patent Office
Bob-van-Benthem-Platz 1
80469 Munich

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