1.2. Application of the rules of interpretation

In consolidated cases G 2/12 and G 2/13 (OJ 2016, A27 and A28) the term "essentially biological processes for the production of plants" in Art. 53(b) EPC needed to be construed pursuant to the general rules of interpretation. The Enlarged Board noted that it was established in the jurisprudence that the principles of interpretation provided for in Arts. 31 and 32 of the Vienna Convention were to be applied when interpreting the EPC. This question was to be analysed by means of a methodical interpretation of Art. 53(b) EPC in respect of, primarily, its wording and, secondarily, considering also the legislator's intention and the aspects of systematic and historical interpretation. In particular, it applied various methodical lines of interpretation which included grammatical, systematic and teleological interpretations as well as supplementary means of interpretation, principally, the preparatory work. None of these lines of interpretation led the Enlarged Board to conclude that the term "essentially biological processes for the production of plants" extended beyond the processes to products defined or obtained by such processes. This result was confirmed when the preparatory work of the EPC was taken into account as a supplementary means of interpretation.

The supplementary means of interpretation have already been commented on above (see in this chapter III.H.1.1.2). Further arguments and the case law referred to by the Enlarged Board in G 2/12 and G 2/13 in applying the various lines of interpretation are reproduced below.

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