Contrary to initial impressions, the EPO Administrative Council meeting a couple of weeks ago was not a complete waste of time. Although the AC failed to elect a new President (see here, here and here for more details), they did manage to pass several new Decisions, which have recently been announced on the EPO website. These are:
Tuesday, 17 November 2009
Many of the changes, which are to be implemented at various dates in 2010 and early 2011, are to do with the new supplementary search that is now available for international applications under Rule 45bis PCT. This has unfortunately resulted in the structure of partial refunds available from the EPO now becoming too complex for mere humans (let alone cats) to comprehend. Fortunately, the IPKat estimates that most applicants will be unaffected by this in any meaningful way.
Other changes involve a general increase of fees across the board of around 5%. As far as the IPKat can tell, there will thankfully be no further dramatic rises in any fees this time round.
One further change that will have a more clear and widespread effect is the introduction, as from 1 January 2011, of a deadline for providing information on prior art, under an amended Rule 141 and a new Rule 70b EPC (see CA/D 18/09 for details). This will create a new two month deadline for providing the results of a search carried out by another authority, or for stating why these results are not available.
Why all these changes (except perhaps the 5% fee increases) are necessary is quite beyond the IPKat's understanding, but perhaps some of his more enlightened readers can help...
Posted by David at 08:00:00