The opposition procedure before the European Patent Office (EPO) is a post-grant, contentious, inter partes, administrative procedure intended to allow any European patent to be centrally opposed. European patents granted by the EPO under the European Patent Convention (EPC) may be opposed by any person from the public (no commercial or other interest whatsoever need be shown). This happens often when some prior art was not found during the grant procedure, but was only known by third parties.
An opposition can only be based on a limited number of grounds, i.e. on the grounds that the subject-matter of the patent is not patentable, that the invention is insufficiently disclosed, or that the content of the patent extends beyond the content of the application as filed. The notice of opposition to a European patent must be filed in writing at the EPO (either at Munich, The Hague or Berlin), along with the payment of an opposition fee, within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the patent in the European Patent Bulletin. Opposition divisions of the EPO are then responsible for the opposition procedure. The opposition procedure may involve multiple opponents. According to the EPO, a European patent was once opposed by a record number of 27 opponents.
Read more about Opposition Procedure Before The European Patent Office: Rationale, Framework, and Available Grounds, Filing and Admissibility, Substantive Examination, Outcome and Effects of The Opposition, Apportionment of Costs, Transfer of Opponent Status, Intervention and Observations By Third Parties, Statistics, Costs and Duration, Parallel National Proceedings, Composition of An Opposition Division
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