Article 99 – European patent opposition procedures
Opposition is a procedure provided by the European Patent Convention (EPC) to centrally revoke a European patent. It needs to be started within nine months from the date of grant. This is a very strict, non-extendible deadline.
Opposition proceedings take place at the European Patent Office in The Hague (The Netherlands) or Munich (Germany).
It is also possible to request patent revocation at the national courts. However, the advantage of an opposition procedure for an opponent is reduced cost and complexity, because there is only a single, centralised procedure. Instead, if you want a European patent revoked after the nine-month opposition period, you need to start revocation procedures country by country. This leads to complicated, long and expensive legal procedures.
A further advantage of opposition, at least for the opponent, is that, if unsuccessful, you still retain the possibility to try to obtain patent revocation later in the various national courts. This allows, for instance, to search again for stronger or more prior art, which can then be presented in the subsequent national procedures.
Parties not having a residence in the EPC member states need to be represented by a European Patent Attorney. There is no such requirement for parties having a residence in one of those member states. However, it is very strongly recommended also for those parties to be represented by a patent attorney.
Article 99 specializes in European patent opposition procedures, representing patent proprietors as well as opponents.
So, whether you want to oppose a European patent or whether you need to defend your European patent against an attack by somebody else, Article 99 is at your service.
You will find more information under the various tabs. However, the best course of action is to pick up the phone and discuss your case with a Patenthuis/Article 99 specialist.