New Rules of Procedure of the Boards of Appeal approved

New Rules of Procedure of the Boards of Appeal approved

The Administrative Council of the EPO has just approved revised Rules of Procedure of the Boards of Appeal. The new RPBA will come into force on 1 January 2020.
 
The changes include stricter measures for dealing with amendments to a party’s case, a new rule designed to reduce remittal of cases back to the department of first instance, a commitment to publish a list of cases where action on an appeal case is expected to happen in the following year, and a requirement for all Boards to send a communication in preparation for oral proceedings, that either provides an opinion or draws attention to matters of particular significance.

Practice points

  • Appellants and respondents should review pending cases now and consider submitting grounds of appeal, replies or amendments to their cases before 1 January 2020 to benefit from any possible leniency the present rules provide in comparison to the new rules.

  • Take extra care to put forward all relevant requests, facts, objections, arguments and evidence at first instance, to reduce the likelihood that submissions made in appeal once the new rules come into force are deemed inadmissible.

  • It’s now absolutely vital to check the minutes of the first instance hearings to make sure that they record all of your points correctly to maximise your prospect of reintroducing them at the appeal stage.

  • Do everything you can to have as many grounds reviewed at first instance, as they might only get heard once i.e. at the appeal stage.

  • We’ll be looking at the changes in more detail in our upcoming webinar.  Please register your interest here.

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