Achieving success in oppositions and appeals is critical for any innovation-orientated business seeking commercial advantage and growth. We have an excellent track record handling offensive and defensive patent and trade mark oppositions, appeals and cancellations both in the UK and Europe and our team make formidable adversaries.
When it comes to oppositions, the experience and expertise of a representative handling the case can really make a difference. For oppositions with no external counsel involved, the likelihood of the patent being revoked was significantly greater than the likelihood of the patent being maintained as amended. On the other hand, with external counsel involved, it appeared much more likely that the patentee would walk away with a patent. For large or commercially important opposition cases, our experience is that a successful result is often a team effort, with small teams of Mewburn attorneys headed by our opposition specialists working alongside patentees’ or opponents’ in-house teams.
We have advised hundreds of clients on their opposition and appeals strategies and have a deep understanding of this area. From the very start of their careers, we train our attorneys to handle complex oppositions. This dedicated focus translates into an enviable oppositions success rate. Only 7.4% of patents we have opposed in the last 15 years have been maintained as granted, compared with an EPO average of 24.6%. We are even more effective if cases go to appeal, only 2.7% of the cases we oppose are maintained as granted in appeals compared to an EPO average of 11.9%*.
Not only do we have the technical expertise and knowledge of the subject matters under scrutiny, but also a forensic understanding of the evolving procedural aspects of the various processes involved. Our proven track record in successfully defending intellectual property rights for our clients and attacking third party rights that cause concern, means we are the firm of choice for some of the most opposed companies in the world.
We handle everything from compact cost-conscious defences through to multi-party 'win at all costs' proceedings. We never forget that oppositions are always part of a broader commercial context. Our legal acumen and influence are undisputed. The firm has helped to shape EPO practice and more than 50 cases handled by our attorneys now feature in the EPO’s ‘White Book’ on case law - a testament to our creative approach.
Ultimately, whether enforcing or defending your IP rights, it is desirable to be able to do so in a cost-effective manner which is commensurate with the importance of your IP asset and your budget. Our approach is tailored to ensure we design a strategy that underpins your commercial aspirations.
*Source: Statistics provided by IpQuants AG
The Unified Patent Court
The link between EPO Oppositions and the UPC is important and you should consider the impact of the UPC on any oppositions. Read more on our Spotlight on The Unitary Patent & Unified Patent Court page and also refer to our IP disputes & litigation page. If you have any questions or concerns please get in touch.
A note on strawman
You can’t officially file an anonymous opposition but you can use a proxy (a different company, an individual attorney) to file one for you thereby achieving anonymity. This is called a ‘strawman’ which allows the true identity of the opponent to be hidden. This can sometimes be a commercially appropriate strategy to employ.