Journal Article

Case law of the EPO Boards of Appeal in 2006

Gillian Davies

in Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice

Volume 2, issue 8, pages 524-531
Published in print August 2007 | ISSN: 1747-1532
Published online June 2007 | e-ISSN: 1747-1540 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jiplp/jpm097
Case law of the EPO Boards of Appeal in 2006

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Legal context

The article reviews significant decisions handed down by the Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office (EPO) in 2006, concentrating on decisions of the Enlarged Board and the Boards of Appeal issued in 2006 and published or to be published in the OJ EPO.

Key points

The article discusses the application of Art. 24 EPC on exclusion and objection to members of the boards of appeal in the light of the following decisions: G 1/05, T 281/03 and J 15/04; referrals pending before the EBA on the subject of divisional applications (Art. 76 EPC and R. 25 EPC) and exclusion from patentability under R. 23d(c) in conjunction with Art. 53a EPC; and decisions of technical boards of appeal on exclusions from patentability (Arts. 52 (2)(3) and (4) EPC), the requirement of industrial applicability (Art. 57 EPC) and re-establishment of rights (Art. 122 EPC).

Practical significance

The article provides an overview of the 2006 case law of the boards of appeal which is particularly useful since most of the decisions discussed have not yet been published in the OJ EPO. The author is critical of the recent case law on the application of Art. 24 EPC (exclusion and objection to members of the boards of appeal) and reports on several decisions of particular legal interest.

Keywords: Each year the Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office produce large numbers of decisions in relation to disputed patentability of inventions and the legal mechanisms by which those disputes may legitimately be resolved.; The number of decisions generated each year is so vast that it is not feasible even for the interested and conscientious patent practitioner to read them all.; This article provides an overview of evolving European Patent Office law, based on decisions of the Enlarged Board and the Board of Appeal in several key areas during 2006.

Journal Article.  5464 words. 

Subjects: Arbitration ; Intellectual Property Law

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