An opposition strategy can make or break a business. Whether you’re at the receiving end of an opposition, or are looking to clear the way for your own products or services, it’s important to get it right.

Our Engineering & ICT specialists have a proven track record in opposition proceedings and have successfully defended and attacked hundreds over the years. We understand that successful oppositions require not only deep technical expertise and knowledge of the subject matter under scrutiny, but a forensic understanding of the evolving procedural aspects of the European Patent Office (EPO) process and timelines. 

In autumn 2020, we analysed more than 8000 opposition cases filed at the EPO over the last 12 years, studying the timelines for hundreds of engineering, electronics and software oppositions. Using a tailored computer programme built by Camille Terfve, associate in our life sciences team, we were able to identify trends and answer key questions. Through this research we wanted to truly understand how oppositions are affected by procedural changes and the Covid-19 pandemic so we can advise our clients on the best opposition strategies to succeed.

As engineering, electronics and software cover a vast range of disciplines, we focused in on four sectors: Transport, Medical Devices, Telecommunications and Software. These sectors were chosen not only for their importance as measured by number of patent applications and number of oppositions, but also their significance in the wider economy. In the report we look at whether opposition outcomes are the same across different technology sectors and which players are the most active in oppositions. 

Experts in oppositions

Emma Graham - Circle

"Early Certainty” programme provides stronger legal and commercial certainty at an earlier stage

“The EPO’s streamlining initiative has been a welcome boost for patentees, particularly for those in the technical space of computer implemented inventions (including software-related inventions), as the “Early Certainty” programme provides stronger legal and commercial certainty at an earlier stage.

“This is crucial for patentees in a rapidly evolving technical landscape as these inventions will typically have a shorter shelf life compared to other fields; if a patent is to be commercially valuable, it should be granted and any oppositions resolved before this shelf life is reached. Our research, which shows the acceleration of engineering, electronics and software oppositions over recent years, underlines the EPO’s streamlining initiative’s success.”

Stephen Gill - Circle

The EPO streamlining initiative has impacted the overall opposition process

When analysing data from the EPO, we were keen to look at exactly how the EPO streamlining initiative has impacted the overall opposition process since it was first introduced nearly five years ago, along with how the pandemic has disrupted procedures.

“It was encouraging to see how successfully and efficiently the EPO responded to the postponement of hearings in the early days of the pandemic by introducing video-conferencing for opposition division oral proceedings. This has allowed the opposition timeline to be maintained for many cases, and is something we expect the EPO to continue with long after the pandemic. It brings advantages for attorneys and applicants, and is also consistent with a wider “greener agenda.


Need help with an opposition?

Our opposition specialists work across the whole spectrum of engineering, physics and computing innovation.  We handle everything from compact cost-conscious defences through to multi-party 'win at all costs' proceedings.  We will work with you to understand the real-world commercial context and offer up imaginative and pragmatic strategic advice that achieves the right outcome for your business, at the right cost.

Not sure who to talk to?  Please get in touch and I'll be happy to help. 

Graeme Moore, Head of Engineering & ICT


Read our opposition blogs

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Experts in Engineering & ICT technologies

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Emerging & Hi Tech

Developments at the forefront of computing and physics are driving disruptive hi-tech innovation in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, healthcare, virtual reality, and the Internet of Things. These developments promise to transform our daily lives so the manner in which they are commercialised is important.  Our experience, intellectual capability and IP expertise enables us to contribute significantly to the IP protection strategies of a wide range of clients working in this field.

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Our IP specialists have a long track record of working with innovators in advanced material science, in both academia and industry, in fields including novel energy storage materials, and nanomaterials such as graphene. From internationally known fibre and fabric manufacturers and world-leading semiconductor developers through to the SMEs and universities pushing the boundaries with 2D materials, our experience covers every aspect of IP legal advice from conception to consumer.  

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The pace of change in Information and communications technology (ICT) and Electronics is exponential. This growth and evolution will demand rapid innovation across the electronic spectrum to ensure that the hardware infrastructure can support the rate of growth and change. Beyond this, other diverse fields such as flexible electronics and quantum computing are delivering commercially valuable innovations which need protecting. We understand this, and we aim to help our clients protect their innovations with clear and uncomplicated IP advice.


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Medical Technology

Made up of a highly qualified team of mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, physicists and material scientists, our Engineering patent team is well set up to assist with IP protection across the entire range of medical technologies. We have an impressive track record of obtaining robust IP for medical devices from deceptively simple stents or catheters through to obviously high-tech implantable sensors and medical robotics. And our material scientists have extensive experience of biomaterials and their applications in medical technology

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EPO Opposition Trends in Engineering, Electronics and Software


EPO Opposition Trends in Engineering,
Electronics and Software

Special Report

In autumn 2020, we analysed more than 8000 opposition cases filed at the European Patent Office (EPO) over the last 12 years,
studying the timelines for hundreds of engineering, electronics and software oppositions.


Download the Report




Meet our specialists

James Leach - Oct 2022

Partner, Patent Attorney

Christoph Moeller - May 2022

Partner, Patent Attorney

Emma Graham Feb-21

Partner, Patent Attorney


Partner, Patent Attorney

Richard Johnson Feb-21-1

Partner, Patent Attorney

Simon Parry - Oct 2022

Partner, Patent Attorney


Partner, Patent Attorney

Forward Magazines Overlapping 8

Mewburn Ellis


Mewburn Ellis Forward is a biannual publication that celebrates the best of innovation and exploration. Through its pages we hope to inform and entertain, but also to encourage discussion about the most compelling developments taking place in the scientific and entrepreneurial world. Along the way, we’ll engage with the IP challenges that international organisations face every day.