Notice from the European Patent Office dated 29 May 2020 concerning implementation of amended Rule 142(2) EPC
By decision dated 27 March 2020[ 1 ] the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation amended Rule 142(2) EPC on the resumption of interrupted proceedings to increase legal certainty in cases where resumption is not possible under the existing legislation. This notice gives information on the implementation of the amended rule. For the background to the amendment, see CA/5/20.[ 2 ]
1. Under the legislation applicable to date, in the cases referred to in Rule 142(1)(a) or (b) EPC, proceedings are only resumed if the EPO has been informed of the identity of the person authorised to continue the proceedings. In practice, this leads to situations where proceedings remain interrupted for an unlimited period of time because the EPO, even after many years of interruption, has not been informed about such authorised person. Amended Rule 142(2), second sentence, EPC[ 3 ] remedies this situation by providing that if three years after the publication of the date of interruption in the European Patent Bulletin the EPO has not been informed of the identity of the person authorised to continue the proceedings, it may set a date on which it intends to resume proceedings of its own motion.
2. The resumption date will be set after careful assessment of the circumstances of each case and the status of the European patent application/European patent concerned. Information about the intention to resume proceedings on a specified date will be published in the European Patent Register and the European Patent Bulletin. In the case of a claim of succession in title in respect of the European patent application/European patent concerned, the resumption date may be postponed upon reasoned request and submission of relevant documentary evidence.
3. As a consequence of the ex officio resumption, if no person authorised to continue the proceedings can be found, the proceedings will continue with the applicant/proprietor registered in the European Patent Register, and procedural actions may become necessary and/or fees due. Failure to comply with relevant time limits may result in a loss of rights pursuant to the corresponding regulations of the EPC.
[ 1 ] CA/D 2/20, OJ EPO 2020, A36.
[ 2 ] Available at epo.org/ac-documents.
[ 3 ] Amended Rule 142(2), second sentence, EPC will enter into force on 1 July 2020.
It will apply to all proceedings already interrupted on or after that date.