CLR FOREWORD to the eighth edition

The boards of appeal have developed a substantial body of case law over the past 37 years. They have settled more than 40 000 cases. In addition, more than 90 decisions or opinions of the Enlarged Board of Appeal have clarified legal points of fundamental importance in order to ensure uniform application of the law.

The eighth edition of the "Case Law of the Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office" offers a comprehensive overview of the entire case law of the boards of appeal. More than 5 500 decisions are either summarised or cited in chapters which are arranged by topic. This edition incorporates decisions issued in writing by the end of 2015 and also takes account of a number of important decisions rendered at the beginning of 2016. While it follows the same overall structure as the seventh edition, some chapters have been re-organised to allow topics to be located more quickly or to take further developments in the case law into account. The book is complemented by the regular "Board of Appeal Case Law" supplementary publications of the EPO Official Journal, which provide updates on the boards' most recent case law.

This book will help anyone concerned with European patent law to identify the decisions they need. Nevertheless, no summary, however careful, can replace study of the actual decision. All of the decisions handed down since 1979 can be consulted in full and free of charge on the EPO website (

I would like to thank the members of our Legal Research Service, who updated, revised and harmonised the text of this edition. My thanks also go to the EPO Language Service, without whose co-operation the simultaneous publication in the three official languages would not have been possible. Lastly, I wish to thank all the other EPO staff who have helped produce the present publication.


Wim van der Eijk

Chairman of the Enlarged Board of Appeal

Vice-President Directorate-General 3

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Case Law Book