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Questions hang over European patent for hepatitis C drug after ruling

BMJ 2016; 355 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i5493 (Published 10 October 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;355:i5493

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Re: Questions hang over European patent for hepatitis C drug after ruling

To whom it may concern,

In the article DOI 10.1136/bmj.i5493 it is stated that:

"Rainer Osterwalder, spokesman for the office, told The BMJ
that its decision can be appealed by “all parties within three
months from date of publication of the written grounds for the
decision.”"

However, according to Article 108 of the European Patent Convention (as of today, 10.20.2016) says:

"Notice of appeal shall be filed, in accordance with the Implementing Regulations, at the European Patent Office within two months of notification of the decision. Notice of appeal shall not be deemed to have been filed until the fee for appeal has been paid. Within four months of notification of the decision, a statement setting out the grounds of appeal shall be filed in accordance with the Implementing Regulations."

This legal text is publicly available at http://www.epo.org/law-practice/legal-texts/html/epc/2016/e/ar108.html

Therefore, I am afraid that the BMJ article contains two errors: first, what triggers period for appeal is the notification to the Parties, that is different to the "publication" (the latter may occur later, if publication means availability to the public through publication in the European Patent Register) and second, the period for appeal is two months, not three months.

Independently of what words Rainer Osterwalder used in particular -I think it has been a typo-, the following text would better reflect, I think, the legal situation.

"Rainer Osterwalder, spokesman for the office, told The BMJ
that its decision can be appealed by “all parties within two
months from the date of notification to them of the
decision.”

Please consider correcting the errors (at least the one referred to the time for appeal) in the case that my opinion is right.

Sincerely yours,

@inmutante

Competing interests: No competing interests

20 October 2016
Hugo Inmutante
Scientist
None
C/ Játiva 23/1, E-46002 Valencia (SPAIN)