Patent decision

BL number
Concerning rights in
EP(UK) 1495908
Hearing Officer
Mr A C Howard
Decision date
10 August 2011
Person(s) or Company(s) involved
Premium Aircraft Interiors Group Limited
Provisions discussed
Patents Act 1977 Section 32; Rule 50
Rectification of register
Related Decisions


The application was filed by a party other than the patentee to correct an “error” in the register which showed, allegedly incorrectly, that the patent had been granted by the EPO with a designation of GB. The effect of allowing the request would therefore have been the total deletion of all reference in the register to the respective European Patent (UK). The question of the designation had been raised before the EPO during the pre-grant phase, and the Examining Division had, determined (with reasons) that the GB designation should be maintained. The Hearing Officer agreed that the wording of Rule 50(4) (which refers to the comptroller having “no doubts”) should be interpreted as meaning that a correction must be made if there is no reasonable doubt over the existence of an error. The applicant argued that the decision of the EPO to allow the GB designation was manifestly wrong, and that there could be no reasonable doubt over this. It was further argued that Arrow Generics Ltd and Arrow Pharm (Malta) Ltd v Merck & Co, Inc. [2007] EWHC 1900 (Pat) gives authority for the review of decisions made by the EPO. The Hearing Officer considered that the remarks in that case were obiter; that those proceedings were fully litigated whereas the present proceedings were ex parte (the patentee having no right to be heard); and also that the comptroller had no statutory or inherent power to review an administrative decision of the EPO. In these circumstances it could not be concluded that there was no reasonable doubt over the existence of an error, and the request was refused.

Full decision O/281/11 PDF document83Kb