Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Transferring Rights to EPO Opposition

Dear Rich, I have a small company and we filed to challenge an IP before the EPO office. We are in the process of dissolving the company and starting a new one. My question is: How to transfer the rights to the proceedings to the new company? Is there a form we can use?  Before seeking the process, you should be clear as to whether you can transfer the rights. Apparently, an unfettered transfer of rights as an opposer is not permitted -- that is, the status as an opposer cannot be freely transferred. In order to transfer your opposer status, you would have to demonstrate that the new opposer is your "universal successor in law" -- that is, a party that has acquired all of the assets and debts of the previous opposer. (Scroll down to page 17, Section 3.1.) Whoever is acquiring the rights to your dissolved company must be able to show that title has been clearly transferred to the new entity (an attorney's help is recommended).
Case summaries and requests ... At the EPO site, the Board of Appeals summarizes several cases involving transfers of opposer status. You may find this information helpful because the Board explains that the transfer process begins with a request filed with the EPO. We're not experts on the EPO and opposition proceedings but we assume that request is a separate document filed with the EPO (or it may be facilitated using Section 8 of the Notice of opposition to a European patent.) But as far as we can tell, there doesn't appear to be a specific form for use for transferring rights as a opposer. (At least, no such form is listed at the EPO's forms page.) Two ways to obtain further information: find a case involving an opposer transfer and request all of the documents in that case, contact the EPO administrator for your opposition, or seek the assistance of an attorney familiar with EPO procedures.