Events long past 

In T 1191/97 the appellant's criticism of the evaluation of evidence by the department of first instance did not pose a serious threat to the witness's credibility. The fact that the events at issue had taken place a long time ago could readily explain certain imprecisions in the witness's testimony. The board saw no indication that the witness had been in breach of his obligation to testify to the best of his recollection.

In T 61/07 the board made clear that the doubts cast by the respondent on the witness's memory about events which had happened 23 years ago concerned not the witness's credibility but the credibility of the testimony. However, it saw no reason to doubt that his testimony was credible. Just because the witnesses had each independently met a third witness before being heard did not automatically mean that their recollections had been influenced. Shortly before a party alleges prior use, witnesses are normally sounded out about what they actually remember. Such a discussion with a potential witness did not automatically imply that during it the party or one of its staff had influenced what the party remembered.

In the circumstances of case T 918/11, the board considered that the reasoning of the impugned decision that "... the mere declaration of one witness in connection with facts which occurred between 1992 and 1997, i.e. at least 14 years ago, is not sufficient to prove the details of prior use" was not well founded.

In T 905/94 the board held that the fact that one witness had made his declaration three years earlier than other witnesses was not sufficient reason to make his testimony more credible.

With regard to the credibility of witnesses, the board observed in T 1210/05 that even a person who was not being dishonest might make untrue statements. A person can be honestly mistaken in his recollection of an event, particularly if the event took place some time previsously.

Quick Navigation