Munich, 25 Jan 2005
An opposition division of the European Patent Office (EPO) has decided that European patent EP 705903 is to be maintained in amended form.
Following a public hearing involving all parties to opposition proceedings against the patent, the opposition division - a panel consisting of three technical members and one legal member - has concluded that the contested patent can be maintained in amended form.
The patent now relates to a gene probe of a defined composition for the detection of a specific mutation in the breast- and ovarian cancer susceptibility gene and no longer includes claims for diagnostic methods.
The granting of this and two further European patents relating to diagnostic and therapeutic methods of testing for breast cancer predisposition and to the associated BRCA 1 gene had been the subject of much public debate. In February 2002 several parties, including research institutions, filed notice of opposition to patent EP 705903.
The parties to the proceedings are entitled to challenge the opposition division's decision in second-instance proceedings before one of the EPO's technical boards of appeal.
The full reasons for the decision will be set out in writing and published as soon as possible; they will also be made available online and will then be open to consultation at www.epoline.org as part of the EPO's public file inspection service.