Verwijzingsvragen: uitzonderen product van state of the art wanneer deze niet door vakpersoon kan worden geanalyseerd?18-10-2023 Print this page
Moet een product dat vóór de datum van indiening van een Europese octrooiaanvraag op de markt is gebracht, worden uitgesloten van de stand van de techniek in de zin van artikel 54, lid 2 EOV, enkel en alleen omdat de samenstelling of interne structuur ervan niet zou kunnen vóór die datum zonder onnodige last door de vakman worden geanalyseerd en gereproduceerd?
Deze en opvolgende vragen zijn doorverwezen naar de Enlarged Board of Appeal en te vinden onder G 1/23 (solar cells). De Technical Board of Appeal beargumenteerd in eigen bewoordingen dat de afgelopen 30 jaar verschillende interpretaties zijn gegeven aan het begrip wat als 'state of the art' te gelden heeft en wil daar duidelijkheid over krijgen.
From the above, it can be seen that opinion G 1/92 has given rise to diverging interpretations by the Boards of Appeal over the past 30 years, leading to legal uncertainties when it comes to assessing what constitutes state of the art within the meaning of Article 54(2) EPC in relation to a commercially available product. This results in the need to refer a number of questions to the Enlarged Board of Appeal, both to ensure uniform application of the law and because points of law of fundamental importance have arisen. A decision as to under which conditions for a product put on the market before the filing date, as is the case for ENGAGE® 8400, the product itself and partial information about its composition published prior to the filing date is state of the art within the meaning of Article 54(2) EPC is relevant to the present case, as the possibility to use such a product in the analysis of inventive step is decisive to determine the outcome of the case. In addition, the diverging interpretations made of G 1/92 are of considerable practical relevance in a large number of cases as illustrated by the various decisions mentioned above, and a mere theoretical importance is excluded.
De gestelde vragen:
1. Is a product put on the market before the date of filing of a European patent application to be excluded from the state of the art within the meaning of Article 54(2) EPC for the sole reason that its composition or internal structure could not be analysed and reproduced without undue burden by the skilled person before that date?
2. If the answer to question 1 is no, is technical information about said product which was made available to the public before the filing date (e.g. by publication of technical brochure, non-patent or patent literature) state of the art within the meaning of Article 54(2) EPC, irrespective of whether the composition or internal structure of the product could be analysed and reproduced without undue burden by the skilled person before that date?
3. If the answer to question 1 is yes or the answer to question 2 is no, which criteria are to be applied in order to determine whether or not the composition or internal structure of the product could be analysed and reproduced without undue burden within the meaning of opinion G 1/92? In particular, is it required that the composition and internal structure of the product be fully analysable and identically reproducible?
Lees het verwijzingsbesluit hier G 1/23 (solar cells)