Texts relating to appeal proceedings
The appeals procedure is governed by the European Patent Convention, Part VI:
It is further governed by the Rules of Procedure:
The texts of these Rules, the business distribution schemes of the Boards and other information on the Boards and the appeals procedures are contained in the annual supplementary publication to the EPO Official Journal "Information from the Boards of Appeal".
Publication: Case Law of the Boards of Appeal
Important decisions concerning the appeals procedure are summarised in the publication "Case Law of the Boards of Appeal" (see chapter IV.E.).
You can consult the schedule of oral proceedings in the online calendar of oral proceeding.
Information for appellants and other parties
What can be appealed?
An appeal lies from decisions of the Receiving Section, the examining divisions, the opposition divisions and the Legal Division of the Office. A decision which does not terminate proceedings as regards one of the parties can only be appealed together with the final decision, unless the decision allows a separate appeal.
Who may appeal?
Only a party who is adversely affected by the decision may appeal. Other parties to the first-instance proceedings become parties to the appeal proceedings as of right.
What time limits apply to an appeal?
Notice of appeal must be filed within two months of notification of the decision of the department of first instance. Notice of appeal is not deemed to have been filed until the appeal fee has been paid.
A statement setting out the grounds of appeal must be filed within four months of notification of the decision of the department of first instance.
Subject to very specific requirements, an applicant or patent proprietor who has missed the above-mentioned time limits can request re-establishment of rights. Opponents can only request re-establishment in respect of the time limit for filing the statement of grounds of appeal (see decision G 1/86).
What must the notice of appeal and the statement of grounds of appeal contain?
The content of the notice of appeal and of the statement of grounds of appeal is regulated in:
How much is the appeal fee? In what circumstances may this fee be reimbursed?
Notice of appeal is not deemed to have been filed until the fee for appeal has been paid.
The amount of the appeal fee is laid down in the Rules relating to Fees.
- Article 2 Rules relating to Fees (paragraph 1, item 11)
The correct fee amount should always be checked. Up-to-date fee information is available via:
In exceptional cases, the appeal fee can be reimbursed in full, see Rule 103(1) EPC. This may be so, for example, if the appeal is allowed and it is held that a substantial procedure violation occurred before the department taking the appealed decision.
In other cases, the appeal fee is reimbursed at 50% if the appeal is withdrawn by a certain stage in the appeal proceedings, see Rule 103(2) EPC.
Can the processing of an appeal be accelerated?
Parties with a legitimate interest may ask the boards of appeal to deal with their appeals rapidly. National courts also have this option. For further information, please consult the Notice on the accelerated processing of appeals, published in OJ 4/2008, 220.