Third party observations can be filed against any European application or patent for which proceedings are pending, including EPO oppositions and appeals. They can relate to any aspect of patentability, and can be accompanied by additional documents, such as prior art documents or declarations. EPO examiners are obliged to consider third party observations made against patent applications even if they are filed after allowance, and can cause examination to be reopened even at that late stage. Third party observations are therefore a powerful tool for influencing EPO proceedings, and, if successfully used, can lead to limitation or even refusal of patent applications, thus eliminating the need for an EPO opposition. Statements made on the public file at the EPO may also be of use in parallel proceedings elsewhere in the world, such as the USPTO.

We represent clients in a variety of industry sectors, and the broad technical expertise of our attorneys allows our teams to draw on their experience in nearly every technology. After many years of representing companies in opposition proceedings, and with third party observations, Finnegan’s European patent attorneys understand how to navigate the complex procedures of the EPO and help establish freedom-to-operate for clients.

Contacts
Cupitt, Philip
Partner, European Patent Attorney
+44 (0)20 7864 2811
philip.cupitt@finnegan.com

Ford, Hazel
Partner, European Patent Attorney
+ 44 (0) 20 7864 2820
hazel.ford@finnegan.com

Hyden, Martin
Partner, European Patent Attorney
+44 (0)20 7864 2810
martin.hyden@finnegan.com

Wall, Leythem
Partner, European Patent Attorney
+44 (0)20 7864 2814
leythem.wall@finnegan.com