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Opposition to a granted European patent

After you have validated your patent and finally managed to get that business-critical protection, there is still a chance you will face an opposition by a competitor seeking to invalidate your patent. Perhaps you are seeking revocation of a competitor’s patent and it is you who wants to file an opposition? In both cases you need to consider suitable representation: NLO can support you with proven opposition strategies - a service not many patent firms offer.

NLO has experts in many industries and as a firm we are specialized in handling complex opposition cases. Our patent attorneys have successfully defended and attacked nearly one thousand patents. With our technical expertise and our vast opposition experience, we are very well positioned to assist you in assessing which arguments and amendments will give your case the best chance of success.

Opposition EPO

A wide range of strategies

Even after it has been granted, the validity of your European patent can be challenged centrally at the European Patent Office (EPO) by third parties. During these formal proceedings you present your case to a panel of three technically skilled examiners from the EPO who will look at the case from an EPO (technical) perspective and consider submissions from you and the party (or parties) attacking your patent.

It is important to understand that formal opposition, in which contending parties are involved, is very different from examination proceedings, where both the examiner and the applicant are willing to look for allowable subject-matter. During opposition each argument is challenged and scrutinized by the other party and the element of surprise can be a valuable asset to both sides.

Opposition could be a real threat

In the nine months after your European patent has been granted there is a chance that a competitor could file a notice of opposition and request revocation or substantial amendment of your patent. Of the patents opposed at the European Patent Office in this way, 30% are revoked, and a further 40% are reduced in scope during the course of the opposition (EPO Annual Reports). This leaves only 30% of opposed patents unscathed by the process. To help you navigate this period, NLO’s patent attorneys can help you defend your patent and assess the potential risks of limitation of your patent to your business.

Contact our patent opposition expert:

Would you like to file a patent opposition or do you need more information on oppositions?  Please contact Marion Bruin

Articles on Opposition