Oppositions against European patents: Three successful examples of oppositions lodged by Indian opponents

Köster, Christian

Abstract

Indian companies planning to do business in Europe should consider the possible hurdles raised by patents. In Europe, patent protection may be awarded by so-called European patents. Third parties interested to challenge the validity of European patents can do so in opposition proceedings before the European Patent Office (EPO). Opposition proceedings before the EPO are less cost-intensive than national nullity actions against national parts of European patents. Opponents are not always successful, but there are typically good chances to have a weak patent revoked.

After addressing some general aspects of oppositions before the EPO, three examples of successful opposition proceedings are discussed in this paper. The examples refer to pharmaceutical patents in which Indian companies were involved as opponents. As these case studies show, there are various objections which might be raised against the validity of a European patent, all of which could ultimately lead to the revocation of the attacked protective right. European opposition procedures can therefore be a powerful tool to remove unjustified patent protection and to clear the way for business in Europe.

Keyword(s)

patent oppositions; opposition procedure; patent protection;

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