Once a German or European patent has been granted, anyone can file an opposition against it within nine months. There are numerous grounds for opposition: for example, inadmissible amendments to the originally filed version, lack of practicability, lack of novelty, or lack of inventive step.
Appeals can be filed against decisions in opposition proceedings. After examination, the patent is maintained in unchanged or amended form or revoked. An appeal can also be filed against the rejection of a patent application in the examination procedure. The Federal Patent Court or the European Patent Office assess whether the patent application was lawfully rejected.
Opposition and appeal proceedings have always been one of the core competencies of WR. Since the firm was founded, we have been involved in hundreds of cases and have achieved numerous important successes for our clients. We have also played a significant role in shaping case law.
It is not uncommon for us to be called in after a patent has been granted to defend an attacked patent or, conversely, to attack a patent of a competitor. This shows that our clients have a lot of confidence in us in opposition and appeal proceedings and trust WR's many years of experience and competence, especially in complex cases.
Opposition and appeal proceedings usually involve commercially important inventions. We thus work uncompromisingly and thoroughly in these cases – naturally taking into account the interests and economic situation of our clients.
When it comes to highly-specific, complex technical or legal issues, we always draw on the experience and knowledge of our attorney colleagues. They also sometimes take the position of the Advocatus Diaboli in order to make our arguments "watertight".
In order to represent the interests of our clients in the best possible way, we continuously educate ourselves and, thus, always stay abreast of current case law. After all, an "edge through knowledge" can tip the scales when it comes to winning or losing in opposition or appeal proceedings.
This all helps explain our above-average success rate in opposition and appeal proceedings in recent years.