Last week the European Patent Office (EPO)'s enlarged Board of Appeal gave its decision in case G 4/19, in which it had been asked to clarify whether or not double patenting is excluded under the European Patent Convention (EPC), and if so, how that exclusion should be interpreted. The Enlarged Board's answer essentially condirms existing EPO practice, but stops short of providing the full extent of clarification that had been sought.
Background to the case
Some EPC states, including the UK, have provisions under their national law which aim to prevent double protection for the same invention by both a patent granted under national law and one granted by the EPO. However, the EPC does not contain any explicit provisions banning double protection of the same invention by two EPO-granted patents. Continue Reading