Tuesday 31 December 2013

Little jewels from The EPO for 2014

More flexibility in dividing your applications
The EPO has been rather busy with its late 2013 Administrative Decisions .Its probably the case that most patents agents will be looking for a spot of CPD to make sure they understand the implications of the changes promised for 2014. The change in divisional practice in October which arrives on 1 April 2014 was greeted with much delight but the additional decisions all need to be read and digested. The whole package is driven by divisional issues. The changes in practice on searches are long overdue and it seems an age since CIPA was trawling for data on these iniquities. They don't arrive till 1 November 2014 so some applicants may be grateful for those prolonged delays in the arrival of their supplementary European searches, even if the renewal fees during that wait are inexorably rising as can be seen on the decision relating to fees. Cleveland have a helpful exposition of the new regime on unsearched subject matter here.
All this and the confusion over how to amend European patent applications now that our hands are tied and everything must be electronic as debated on the IPkat here means that 2014 is going to be an exciting year for the European Patent Attorney.
It is to be hoped that with all these procedural shenanigans that someone will remember that the role of the EPO is to issue valid patents efficiently (this includes timeliness) in the hope that those innovations will be exploited positively to the benefit of the European economy and not just of patent agents and litigators.

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