Biomedical Engineering Reference
In-Depth Information
The opposition procedure (see art. 100 EPC for further details) must be written
and raised within 9 months from the publication of the notice of allowance; the
opposition must contain relevant motivations, and the payment of the opposition
fee is requested. Any third party is entitled to raise opposition. Recent Amendments to the European Patent Convention
The main amendments made to the European Patent Convention in force since 13
December 2007 (EPC 2000), are the following [ 6 ]:
• a European patent application can be iled in any language 10 : the applicant must
file within 2 months a translation into one of the three official languages of the
EPO (in failure thereof, the application is deemed to be withdrawn, without pos-
sibility to request the so-called further processing );
• it is no longer necessary to ile the claims, but only the description of the inven-
tion or even a simple reference to a former application (a procedure known as
filing by reference 11 —the applicant shall have to provide within 2 months a cer-
tified copy of the former application and a translation thereof);
• the patent application can be integrated by missing parts of the description or of
the drawings 12 (within 2 months from the filing of the same or upon request by
the EPO), but not of the claims;
• an application iled in any country which is a member of the WTO 13 (the World
Trade Organization) can be quoted as priority application and the holder shall
have 16 months' time from the date of first filing to claim or amend the priority
statement 14 ;
• the holder can limit or even revoke a granted European patent 15 (this is an ex
parte proceeding, to be suspended only if an opposition is raised against the
grant of the patent);
10 According to the previous Convention, a patent application could be filed mandatorily in one
of the three official languages of the EPO: English, French and German, or else in the national
11 The reference to the former application must contain: the filing date and number; the office
where it was filed; a hint at the parts included in the filing by reference (description, drawings
and claims).
12 The missing parts must be contained in the priority application.
13 And not only in a Contracting State of the Paris Union Convention.
14 The request for the re-establishment of rights must be filed within two months from the natu-
ral expiration of the twelve-month period.
15 There is no time limit to start the procedure; the revocation is effective since the beginning
(ab initio) in all the designated countries; in the event of limitation, the Examining Division starts
a substantive examination in order to make sure that the amendments actually limit and do not
broaden the scope of protection. If the limitation is approved, the patent is published as B3. If the
patent has been validated in Italy, the new amended text shall have to be translated in order to be
effective in Italy as well.
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