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New rules of procedure at the European Patent Office's Boards of Appeal

The revised Rules of Procedure of the Boards of Appeal (RPBA) were adopted by the Boards of Appeal Committee on 4 April 2019 and were unanimously approved by the Administrative Council at its 160th meeting on 26 and 27 June 2019. They will come into force on 1 January 2020.

In essence, the scope of any appeal before the Boards of Appeal will be limited to a judicial review of the appealed decision and amendment will become increasingly difficult to make. The aim is that the new Rules will improve efficiency, predictability and harmonisation of the decisions issued.

The impact will likely result in a frontloading of costs and effort in any case to ensure that it is presented in its best light and to ensure that any minutes or decision issued by the examination or opposition division is carefully reviewed to ensure that it is accurate as any subsequent appeal will likely be more constrained than previously experienced.  

The new Rules will, in general, apply to any appeal pending on, or filed after, the date of their entry into force.

It is therefore of greater importantance to consider the filing of divisional applications for commercially important inventions, where appropriate, to provide greater flexibility should appeal proceedings ensue.

The Rules can be seen here.
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