/ Created by Mathias Karlhuber, Dr. Natalie Kirchhofer

New Rules of Procedure of EPO Boards of Appeal Entering into Force on January 1, 2020

C&F informs about changes and challenges for patentees and opponents

Düsseldorf, 29.10.2019 – On January 1, 2020, the new Rules of Procedure of the Boards of Appeal (RPBARPBA), which were adopted by the Administrative Council of the European Patent Office (EPO) in June 2019, will enter into force.

What specific effects will the new RPBA have on opposition and appeal proceedings concerning European patents? What do patent owners, opponents and attorneys have to expect in the future? Cohausz & Florack (C&F) dealt with these questions on October 10, 2019 as part of a seminar in its CFTalks series. In addition to representatives from C&F, renowned external legal experts spoke at the seminar: Christopher Rennie-Smith (former Chairman of an EPO Board of Appeal and member of the preparatory committee for the current RPBA), Dr. Emmanuel Schneider (former Chairman of an Opposition Division and examiner at the EPO) and Dr. Geertje Strohe-Kamp (Corporate Director Patents at Henkel).

"In the future, it will be considerably more difficult to file new documents, requests and lines of attack or defense in the appeal stage", says Dr. Natalie Kirchhofer, patent attorney and partner at C&F. In addition, the new rules will give the EPO Boards of Appeal more flexibility in the allocation of cases and scheduling in order to counteract the backlog of appeal proceedings and hopefully reduce the overall duration of the proceedings. Transparency in scheduling will also be increased. The EPO Boards of Appeal have already published an initial list of cases for which a summons, preliminary opinion, decision or oral hearing can be expected in 2020. According to the RPBA, this list will continue to be made available at the end of each year. "Despite all the difficulties that the new RPBA entails, the list provides indication preview of the work schedule of the Boards of Appeal and is therefore a valuable orientation for our clients," says Mathias Karlhuber, patent attorney and partner at C&F.

The CFTalks seminar series by C&F regularly gives clients and other representatives from industry and the public the opportunity to inform themselves about current developments in the field of intellectual property rights and discuss these with experts.

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>> list of EPA appeal procedures in 2020