According to the EPO Annual Report 2017, the absolute number of opposed patents increased by almost 25% in 2017, having remained more or less constant between 2013 and 2016. Given the 10% rise in granted patents in 2017 relative to 2016 (an increase of almost 55% relative to 2015), the absolute number of oppositions is expected to increase further in 2018. Opposition is thus becoming an increasingly important tool for parties to secure their freedom to operate.
This report is the first of a series of five reviews that analyses data from the public EPO registers on filed oppositions in 2016 and follow-up trends relative to 2015 and earlier (for further information please see “EPO opposition: key players, key fields and the key to change”). The first report in our series focuses on the technologies and nationalities of parties involved in opposition. The second part will discuss the choices of representative made by parties. The third and fourth parts will cover the engagement in opposition of patent firms in private practice and the core technologies of their opposition portfolio. Finally, the fifth part will highlight the share of in-house IP departments of companies in opposition.