Invalidating an epc
This approach requires a great deal of resources ahead of time in the patent office (at the end of 2001 the European Patent Office had a staff of more than 5,000) but means that fewer invalid patents are likely to be granted.
Then there are patent offices which do not examine each application in depth but merely check that the right papers have been filed and fees paid.
If they do, the invalidity of the patent is then raised as a defence.
If they don't, for whatever reason, then the matter may go no further.
It might be disastrous if a country where there is little likelihood of anyone challenging the patent uses a registration system.
If the patent application is rejected in, for example, EPO, there might be a good case to invalidate the patent in a "registration only" country, to the extent that the law is the same.
These sorts of things happen frequently in industrialised countries.
A potentially vital issue is the determination under national law of who is allowed to challenge a patent.
This is the case in the European Patent Office, the United States Patent Office, the Japanese Patent Office and the Chinese Patent Office as well as many others (see p.
18 for some patents that the US office has granted, including a Santa Claus detector).
For example, EPC Article 138 includes grounds for revocation on the basis that the invention is not patentable (for example, the invention falls into a category which is excluded from patentability, such as therapeutic or surgical methods, or the invention is not new or is not inventive), that the patent isn't clear enough about how to carry out the invention, that the patent application or the granted patent has been amended in a way which is not permissible, and that the patent was granted to somebody who was not entitled to it.
Some concrete examples include: • A mistake may have been made during the granting process about whether or not the invention should have been patentable.