The European Patent Office has today published an advance preview of its annual update to the Guidelines for Examination which will come into force on 1 November 2019. This year, there have been some tweaks to sections on how novelty, inventive step and clarity are assessed. The updates also add detail to discussions on formalities…

By Thomas Becher, German and European Patent Attorney, Hoffmann Eitle From a first read, Decision T 1731/12 may have a tremendous impact on the patenting of medical devices at the European patent office. The EPO itself seems to attach quite some importance to the decision because it has provided an official headnote which serves to summarize…

One of the worst nightmares or, in a few cases, real events in a patent professional’s life is when he/she realizes that an important term has inadvertently been missed and the usual means of term extension are no longer available. What then? Will the hardship of the applicable European or national statute inevitably hit you?…

Late in 2018, Board 3.5.07 issued two decisions on appeals from Examining Division decisions, in which the length of the examination procedure was excessive.  The Board decided that such delays can amount to a substantial procedural violation, but that it is only equitable to reimburse the appeal fee if the applicant took some proactive measures…

One of the deepest insights in moral philosophy is provided by Erich Kästner’s short rhyme „Es gibt nichts Gutes. Außer man tut es.“ (There’s nothing good. Unless you do it.), which became one of the most cited proverbs in German. Mind Kästner’s original punctuation. In the first sentence, he expressed fundamental skepticism that there is…

The Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA) in the UK has harshly criticized the European Patent Office for its handling of the issue of patentability of plants. Last month it published a position paper in which it said measures proposed by the EPO to create clarity undermine legal certainty or are even unlawful. Kluwer IP Law…

The decision of the Administrative Council of the EPO to refer to the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBA) decision T 1063/18 on the patentability of plants obtained by essentially biological processes has been criticized from various sides. A week ago, during the 159th meeting of the EPO Administrative Council, president António Campinos said his referral of…

The UK Supreme Court today handed down its decision in Actavis v ICOS. The decision was unanimous, with Lord Hodge giving the only judgment. The case concerns two principal questions. First, how the test for obviousness applies to a dosage patent; and secondly, whether the Court of Appeal was entitled to reverse the judgment of…

The results of the EPO’s online user consultation on a procedural option for postponing examination of a European patent application have now been published and are available here (pdf). To cut a long story short, users’ opinions are quite divided. The overall result is surprisingly similar to the result of the Brexit referendum (52% in…