"Patentees now have much less time to respond to an opposition. More than ever before, they need to review oppositions early and be prepared to respond within the initial four-month time limit. This means that a very early review of the opposition is required and, in particular, possible claim requests should be considered at an early stage and prompt consideration given to whether expert declarations or additional data are required.
Hearings are being appointed much sooner and there is now very limited time for opponents to review a patentee’s response before a summons is issued. Therefore, for an opponent, a prompt review of the patentee’s response is essential to determine whether or not a response should be fled before issuance of the summons, so that any rebuttal arguments are considered by the Opposition Division when preparing the summons."