Advising a food packaging solutions provider
We have been representing this client for several decades now. A few years ago we acted for them in the filing of an opposition at the European Patent Office against the grant of a patent for a method of making cardboard blanks. Cardboard blanks made by the process can be folded and heat sealed to create food packaging, such as sandwich packs. Although such blanks can be made by other processes, the claimed process is potentially quicker, and may be cheaper, than the alternatives and being prevented from using it puts our client at a commercial disadvantage.
At the opposition hearing we were successful in having the granted claims amended due to them including subject matter that went beyond the scope of the application as originally filed, which is not allowed under the European Patent Convention. However, although it was argued at the hearing, the Opposition Division did not consider that the amendment made to overcome that objection resulted in the scope of the amended claims covering subject matter not covered by the originally granted claims, which is also not allowed under the European Patent Convention.
Due to the potential commercial benefits of access to the process for the client, we were asked to file an appeal against the opposition decision. The appeal hearing took place in December 2019 and the Board of Appeal agreed with our position resulting in the patent being revoked in its entirety meaning that the client is now free to use this process in Europe if they choose.