In EPO opposition proceedings, even holding a winning prior-art is not the end of story.
We all know that a Post-grant opposition may be filed against any patent within nine months of the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent [Art. 99(1)].
But let us highlight one recent opposition case before you, where even a Category-X prior-art wasn’t able to kill the target patent. What wrong happened actually?
Here is the answer-
In December 2017, EPO published revision of the Arrangements for deposit accounts and their annexes Supplementary publication 5 – Official Journal EPO 2017 (effective from 1 December 2017). According to which Debit order filed on paper or as PDF attachment are no longer accepted and considered valid if made via one of the valid means of filing by using the online filing software by selecting “debit order” in the drop-down menu of EPO forms 1001E, 1200E, 2300E or 1038E and by selecting the fee(s) payable. The payment will then be processed automatically. Alternatively, to the above, payers can choose other payment methods, e.g. Credit Card or bank transfer [can refer point 5.1.2, 5.1.3, 5.4.2.]
Such mistake done by Liebherr-Hausgeräte Ochsenhausen GmbH led to rejection of an almost successful opposition – wherein a filed post-grant opposition with strong prior-art, proved ineffective because of wrong method of fee submission for opposition proceedings.