What are the "procedural steps" Art. 24(3) EPC is referring to?

Art. 24(3)

EPC Members of a Board of Appeal or of the Enlarged Board of Appeal may be objected to by any party for one of the reasons mentioned in paragraph 1, or if suspected of partiality. An objection shall not be admissible if, while being aware of a reason for objection, the party has taken a procedural step. An objection may not be based upon the nationality of members.

Regarding this, I found just a small remark in the book "Visser's annotated European Patent Convention":

Raising an objection is not regarded as a procedural step in the sense of Art. 24(3).

Could you extend this explanation?

Thank you in advance

1 Answer 1


I'm not aware of any case-law examining why an objection is not treated as a 'procedural step' under EPC 24(3). But I'd suggest that on a commonsense view, a party who takes a step in the appeal proceedings -- that is, a step that calls, or will call, for some decision by the competent authority -- is submitting to the jurisdiction of that authority, and accepting what he knows about them. This seems a reasonable presumption of acceptance of the jurisdiction, in that it excludes mere hindsight disapproval and retrospective objections cooked up by a party who only happens to dislike a decision that has been properly reached. Such a motivation has nothing to do with grounds of objection against the identity, qualification, and other aspects of conduct of the judges themselves.

The effective exception, for a party's unawareness of grounds of objection to the membership of the appeal board, only appears to reflect the reasonableness of not expecting a party to take objection on the basis of grounds that he is not aware of. It's enough if he acts on newly discovered grounds as soon as he gets to be aware of them.

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