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Author(s): Morten Garberg (European & British Patent Attorney)

In the December 2013 issue of "Patents & Licensing", Morten Garberg of HOFFMANN EITLE's chemistry group discusses the novelty of numerical ranges in a patent claim in view of more recent decisions of the European Patent Office's Technical Boards of Appeal.

He concludes that, looking at the recent case law development, there is a trend at the EPO to drop the requirement for purposiveness or technical effects in order to establish novelty of a numerical sub-range (over a broader prior art range).Thus, novelty of a sub-range relative to the prior art can perhaps be established merely by showing just
(i) narrowness and
(ii) sufficient distance from specifically disclosed individual prior art values, disclosed, e.g., as end-Points or in specific examples.

Patents & Licensing is a bimonthly publication of IP·L Communications Inc., published in the English language in Japan. HOFFMANN EITLE has been the European correspondent of Patents & Licensing for many years. Further information on Patents & Licensing can be obtained on the publishers website at www.iplcom.jp.