The EPO will accelerate the processing of oppositions if it is informed of parallel infringement or revocation proceedings before the Unified Patent Court or a national court or competent authority of a contracting state.

In particular, the following acceleration measures will be taken, depending on when the EPO is notified of parallel court proceedings:

  • The time limit for response to the opposition will be shortened from four months to three months.
  • Summons to oral proceedings will be issued within two months of receipt of the proprietor’s reply. The parties will be summoned to oral proceedings at minimum notice. According to Rule 115(1) EPC, at least two months’ notice of the summons shall be given, which means that the oral proceedings might be scheduled two months after the date of the summons.
  • If the information relating to parallel court proceedings is provided after summons has been sent, oral proceedings are rescheduled to the earliest possible date (provided that the time saving is significant).
  • The interlocutory decision of the opposition division and the minutes of the oral proceedings will be issued within one month.

The purpose of this acceleration is to provide legal certainty to the parties as soon as possible in cases in which parallel proceedings are pending before national Courts or before the Unified Patent Court (UPC).

With this new timeline, it appears that the EPO is adjusting to the tight deadlines of the proceedings before the UPC. Indeed, first instance proceedings before the UPC are scheduled to take at most twelve months.

This IP Alert is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

Published On: 20 March 2024Categories: PublicationsTags:

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