Encyclopedia of Law and Economics

2019 Edition
| Editors: Alain Marciano, Giovanni Battista Ramello

Patent Opposition

  • Alessandro SterlacchiniEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-7753-2_522


A patent opposition allows third parties to question the validity of the patents granted by the European Patent Office (EPO) on the grounds that they do not meet patentability criteria, do not fully disclose the invention, or extend beyond the original application. These issues are debated before an Opposition Division and, eventually, a Board of Appeal of the EPO which decides whether opposed patents are upheld as granted, amended, or revoked. The evidence indicates that these three possible outcomes are equally probable. Since the EPO decision applies to all the states designed in the application, the patent opposition represents a unique opportunity for challenging a patent’s validity at European-wide level. Along with their relatively lower costs, this explains why, in Europe, patent oppositions are used by far more frequently than patent litigation.

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics and Social SciencesUniversità Politecnica delle MarcheAnconaItaly