EPO Enlarged Board of Appeal hears the case concerning partial priorities and poisonous divisional applications

The Board of Appeal decision T 0557/13 raised a number of questions to the Enlarged Board of Appeal. The key issue is that own parent or divisional applications of an applicant may be cited as state of the art in accordance with Article 54(3) EPC against an application or patent belonging to the same patent family which is not entitled to the claimed priority. One key question is to what extent, and under which conditions, that application or patent which is in danger may enjoy a partial priority. On June 7, 2016, the Enlarged Board of Appeal has heard the case and has announced to render a decision by November 2016 at the latest. Patent practitioners will have to wait for the decision in order to have legal certainty on this important point of law.