News from theepi
M. Nollen (BE), Chair of the Editorial Committee
In the past three months, epi has been very active to represent the profession before the EPO. As expressed in his speech to the epi Council (see page 9), the new President of the EPO, Mr Campinos, is keen on collaboration with the epi due to its valuable contributions and its vast network of professionals. At the same time, the EPO proposes initiatives so as, in the words of Mr. Campinos "how we can ensure that the European patent system continues to function effectively and can continue to serve our users". A short update on some highlights:
Cooperation on Quality Management Process
The European Patent Attorney profession has observed ongoing changes at the EPO over the past years with interest and concern. It is clear that a high quality level is very important for the entire patent system. This applies to both the EPO and the patent attorney profession. This is also the reason behind the strict examination for European Patent Attorneys (European Qualifying Examination), which epi has been supporting from the beginning.
The new President has expressed that the EPO wishes to start a further dialogue on the quality management process at the EPO with the European Patent Attorneys. He has invited epi thereto, as the standing representation of European Patent Attorneys before the EPO. epi has accepted this invitation and is engaged to work out projects together with the EPO.
For further information please contact epi's Vice President Heike Vogelsang-Wenke.
The revision of the Rules of Procedure of the Boards of Appeal
On 29 October, the second (published) draft of the revised Rules of Procedures of the Boards of Appeal were published on the EPO's website (https://www.epo.org/law-practice/case-law-appeals/communications/2018/20181029.html). These revised Rules and the reasons therefore were presented and discussed at several occasions, among which is the EPO's User Consultation Conference of 5 December. As will be elaborated in more detail in the next issue of epi information, the second draft includes just as the first one, the three-stage convergence approach for admission of any new document, request or line of argument at the appeal stage. However, the second draft is clarified and specified on many points in comparison to the first one, taking into account the 140 responses to the user consultation of April this year.
During the Conference, the views of the profession were expressed by epi-delegates Chris Mercer and Heike Vogelsang-Wenke as part of the panel discussion. Chris Mercer expressed the wish that the Boards cooperate with the parties to indicate that Oral Proceedings may be expected within a year and to find another date for Oral Proceedings when necessary. He also was against abridged decisions. Heike Vogelsang-Wenke argued that the 4-month period for response to an appeal should remain extensible in complex cases, particularly in case of multiple appellants. She further expressed that the strictness of admission should leave space for a proprietor to file requests 'late' so as to save the patent.
The new User Consultation on deferred Examination (deadline 11 January)
The EPO has launched a new User Consultation on deferred Examination. This subject is addressed in more detail in this issue in an article by Daniel Herrmann. The epi is aware that there are different views in the profession concerning deferred examination. Some parties consider it positive, as one does not need a granted patent long before the protected invention will be adopted. Other parties see the disadvantages, particularly of legal certainty.
The epi recommends all users to respond to the User Consultation. The Consultation includes 20 questions. Most of them are multiple choice questions with the option to give comments, examples and/or reasons for an answer.
The User Consultation can be found at https://www.epo.org/law-practice/consultation/ongoing.html, and the deadline is Friday 11 January 2019.