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EPO: Zoom video conferencing before opposition divisions

The coronavirus pandemic has pushed many of us to use video conferencing platforms in place of face-to-face meetings. At the EPO, oral proceedings before the examining division are now the default but there’s also a pilot program for using video conferencing (ViCo) for oral proceedings involving multiple opponents and/or requiring simultaneous interpretation before the opposition divisions. Whereas Examining Division ViCos use the Skype for Business platform, ViCos held in opposition take place over Zoom.

The EPO recently held a couple of information sessions to highlight the use of the Zoom platform and we have extracted a few points from that session along with the feedback from a ViCo Opposition that Keltie has taken part in.

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EPO: Video conferencing before Opposition Divisions

home-office-5026080_1280IPcopy understands that the EPO’s pilot project for oral proceedings by videoconference before opposition divisions is to receive an upgrade from 14th September 2020 to allow multi party hearings and interpreters.

From 14th September and until at least the end of 2020 oppositions with a single opponent with no interpreters will be conducted under the Skype for Business platform. Oppositions with multiple opponents and/or interpreters will be conducted on the Zoom platform. (more…)

Revised Rules of Procedure of the Boards of Appeal

EPO4On 1 January 2020 the new Rules of Procedure of the Boards of Appeal (“RPBA”) came into force, affecting substantially all(1) appeals pending on, or filed after 1 January 2020. The revised rules have three main aims: i) to increase the efficiency of the appeals procedure; ii) to improve predictability for parties; and iii) to harmonise the approach of the Boards (particularly in regard to the admissibility of amendments to a party’s case). (more…)

Disengage the Simulator – G1/19 Oral Proceedings are Imminent

Elton John was of the opinion that sorry seemed to be the hardest word.  That may well be true in general life, but in the European Patent Convention, that hardest word is “technical”. It underpins everything, yet is never defined – apparently, you know it when you see it1. Much of the challenge it provides results from the need to engineer a definition of “technical” which circumvents the exclusions from patentability set out in Article 52(2) EPC. These exclusions are treated as relating to “non-technical” subject matter by the EPO – such subject matter is excluded from patentability but (as set out in Article 52(3) EPC) only to the extent to which a European patent application or European patent relates to such subject-matter or activities “as such” (two more of the harder words in the EPC).

As a result, many inventions as claimed relate to a mix of “technical” and “non-technical” subject matter. The central case in this area is T 0641/00 (Two identities/COMVIK), which indicates that not only can “non-technical” subject matter not contribute to inventive step unless it somehow contributes to technical character, it can even be used to establish the objective technical problem solved by the invention (whether or not it is found in the prior art). This can lead to a higher “step” in arguing for inventive step, and determination over whether specific features are technical can be a key battleground in patent prosecution before the EPO.

This is the context for the referral of G1/19 to the Enlarged Board of Appeal. This referral was made by the Technical Board of Appeal in T 0489/14, which is an appeal from the decision to refuse EP1546948 – the best place to find all the documents for this case is the European Patent Register entry for EP1546948, including a large number of amicus briefs. (more…)

Patenting AI/Machine Learning Inventions (Part 2)

Last week in “Patenting AI/Machine Learning Inventions (Part 1)” Richard Lawrence and I discussed the challenges of patenting artificial intelligence and machine learning inventions. At the end of that video Richard promised me an example “with a dog”.

So, here’s part 2 of the video. Again, the video is provided with subtitles.

Mark Richardson 20 May 2020

 

Patenting AI/Machine Learning Inventions (Part 1)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is appearing in every technology and industrial sector and has been accompanied by an increase in patent activity over recent years. In this video (subtitles available) I discuss the challenges of patenting artificial intelligence and machine learning inventions with Richard Lawrence of Keltie.

Part 2 of this video will be published next week on IPcopy.

Mark Richardson 13 May 2020

EPO and videoconferencing during the Coronavirus outbreak

In response to the Coronavirus pandemic the EPO has adopted a number of special measures including the postponement until further notice of oral proceedings in examination and opposition proceedings unless they are scheduled to take place by video conference (or the applicant is willing to convert the proceedings into oral proceedings using video conference).

The use of video conferencing has therefore, for the moment at least, become the default for oral proceedings in front of the Examining Division. However, video conferencing during the Covid-19 pandemic brings a number of additional challenges compared to the normal use of the technology. (more…)

COVID-19 – Effects on Intellectual Property (IP)

virus-4937553_1920IP Offices around the world have announced special measures to take account of likely business disruption, not only to their own operations but also to those of their customers, from the Coronavirus outbreak. Here we summarise the measures of the EUIPO, EPO, WIPO, UKIPO and IPOI.

If you feel that your ability to respond to an IP deadline is affected by the Coronavirus situation then please contact your normal IP representative who will be able to advise on the options that may be available. It is important to note that the various IP Offices are applying different special measures and the extent of such special measures may not be immediately be apparent. Please also note that the special measures across the various IP Offices mentioned below are changing constantly so please check with your representative for the latest news.

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EPO Fee changes from 1 April 2020

EPO4The EPO will increase its fees with effect from 1 April 2020, with an increase of around 4% for most fees. The 4% increase is fairly consistent across the board with the notable exception that the EPO appeal fee for non-SMEs*, will increase by from €2255 to €2705, representing an increase of €450 or 20%.

Most fees are associated with particular payment deadline. The fee you pay is dictated by the EPO’s fee schedule** on the day of payment, rather than the fee schedule on the day of the deadline. This means that even if a relevant deadline falls on or after 1 April, you may be able to pay the fee early, on or before the 31 March, to take advantage of the current, lower fee rate. (more…)

The predictive power of the Pre-EQE

classroom-1910012_1920It’s mid-January. Exam stress is rising. About two months from now, more than 2,000 candidates from close to 40 different countries will take part in either the EQE pre-examination or one or more of the four EQE main exams that are organised by the European Patent Office (EPO). These exams, especially the four main exams, are not easy. Only 2 in 5 candidates manage to pass all papers in their first attempt. Passing these exams is only possible with proper preparation. Following some courses is highly recommended for all papers. Thoroughly studying the (case) law and practicing a large number of old exams is unavoidable. (more…)