The Technical Boards of Appeal are competent to hear and decide appeals from decisions of the examining divisions in the context of ex parte proceedings (which involve only one party), in particular decisions concerning the refusal of a European patent application. Appeals also lie to the Technical Boards against decisions of the opposition divisions in the context of inter partes proceedings (which are contentious proceedings involving two or more parties) where a granted European patent is opposed by one or more third parties.
In the majority of cases, the Technical Boards of Appeal decide in a composition of two technically qualified members and one legally qualified member. An extended composition of three technically qualified members and two legally qualified members becomes relevant when the first-instance department has also decided in an enlarged composition or when the Board of Appeal considers that the nature of the appeal so requires, e.g. because the subject-matter in issue falls within more than one technical field.
The allocation of appeals to the Technical Boards of Appeal is regulated by the business distribution scheme of the Technical Boards of Appeal adopted by the extended Presidium.