19 October 2021
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The SACEPO Working Party on Rules met on 14 October 2021 via videoconference to discuss legal changes that will further enable the digitalisation of the patent grant process and enhance data protection.
Stakeholders from the patent profession and user communities were consulted on the Office's plans for amending the EPC Implementing Regulations, so as to bring a variety of rules into line with the new digital environment. EPO representatives reported on the implementation of the order of the Enlarged Board of Appeal in referral G1/21, as well as the ongoing evaluation of the pilot project for the conduct of oral proceedings by videoconference (on which a full analysis will be published in the coming weeks).
Users were also updated on the substantive progress made on the Convergence of Practice programme under the Strategic Plan, including on the common practice concerning the accordance of a priority date and the continuation of discussions about the due care requirement for re-establishment of rights.
New EPO data protection framework
Last but not least, the EPO presented its new data protection framework, as approved by the Administrative Council on 29 and 30 June 2021, and discussed the framework's impact on the patent grant process. SACEPO members very much welcomed the Office's initiative to align itself with the highest international standards and best practices as well as with EU data protection legislation.
SACEPO Working Party on Quality
User representatives will gather again this week in the framework of the SACEPO Working Party on Quality for a three-day online meeting during which the quality of a series of European patents will be assessed by independent external experts and discussed with SACEPO members.