Notice from the European Patent Office dated 3 June 2020 concerning the resumption of proceedings following opinion G 3/19 of the Enlarged Board of Appeal
1. On 9 April 2019, the President of the European Patent Office (EPO) decided to stay, ex officio, all proceedings before EPO examining and opposition divisions in which the decision depended entirely on the Enlarged Board of Appeal's opinion on referral G 3/19 (see OJ EPO 2019, A34).
2. On 14 May 2020, the Enlarged Board of Appeal issued opinion G 3/19. It held that the term "essentially biological processes for the production of plants or animals" in Article 53(b) EPC is to be understood and applied as extending to products exclusively obtained by means of an essentially biological process or if the claimed process feature defines an essentially biological process. The Enlarged Board of Appeal also concluded that there is no conflict between Article 53(b) EPC and Rule 28(2) EPC.
3. The interpretation of Article 53(b) EPC given in opinion G 3/19 does not apply to European patents granted before 1 July 2017 or to pending European patent applications whose filing or priority date is before 1 July 2017.
4. The President of the EPO has decided to lift the stay with effect from 15 May 2020. Affected proceedings will be gradually resumed.