Late Requests in Appeal, Stem Cells and Medical Use Claim from epi Information December 2014

This post provides interesting snippets we saw in the latest edition of the epi’s journal ‘epi Information’ concerning three areas of evolving case law: late requests in appeal, stem cells and the differences between EPC 2000 medical use claims and Swiss Style claims.

From the ‘EPO Boards of Appeal and Key Decisions’ conference of 8-9 October 2014

‘Late Requests’, based on a presentation by Mr Hugo Meinders (Chairman of Board of Appeal 3.2.07)

This was about implementation of Articles 12(2), 12(4), 13(1) and 13(3) of the Rules of Procedures of the Boards of Appeal

  • According to Art. 12(2) the parties should file their complete case at the first exchange. The Board has the power not to admit in the appeal proceedings requests which could have been presented or were not admitted in the first instance proceedings.
  • According to Art. 13(1) any amendment to a party’s case after it has filed its grounds of appeal or reply may be admitted and considered at the Board’s discretion. The discretion shall be exercised in view of inter alia:

~ the complexity of the new subject-matter submitted,

~ the current state of the proceedings and

~ the need for procedural economy.

  • According to Art. 13(3), anything filed after issue of the summons is not admitted if it cannot be dealt with by the Board or the party without adjournment of the proceedings. Although the way late filed requests are handled may vary from one Board of Appeal to another, the political will to increase the productivity of the Boards of Appeal may have far reaching consequences for the users of the system. Thus, although not mentioned by Mr Meinders, the Boards of Appeal seem to show a desire to act more as a pure second instance reviewing the correctness of the first instance decision.

From a Report of a Meeting of the Committee on Biotechnological Inventions

Stem Cells

The latest opinion from the CJEU in C364/13 suggests that “parthenotes” are not embryos and therefore are not excluded from patentability. In addition T2221/10 appears to follow the EPO’s current practice, namely that cases filed before publication date of the single blastoma extraction process (SBP) are not patentable.

Medical use claims

T1780/12 concerned the difference in scope between Swiss style and EPC 2000 claims.

There is some concern by doctors, for example in Switzerland, that they may infringe the EPC 2000 format medical use claims. There is also concern regarding infringement for off label marketing. We think that there are differences in scope, because Swiss style claims require the manufacture of a medicament: at a very basic level are two different types of claims have different wording. There is a suggestion that EPC 2000 medical use claims might cover the use of an intermediate in a pharmaceutical formulation which then is metabolized to an active ingredient in the body. That probably would not be covered by a Swiss style claim.

You may also wish to see related articles 10 Biotech Claims You CannotHave in Europe and Tips for Success in EPO Appeals on Biotech Cases.

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