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EPO Life Sciences Seminar

May 17, 2018 - May 18, 2018

The first ever EPO Life Sciences Seminar will be held following the AIPLA Spring Meeting.  Attendees will learn about the most recent developments at the EPO including quality, timeliness and how the EPO handles Asian documentation. This plenary session will be supplemented by interactive, break-out workshop sessions in which the patentability of life sciences inventions in the EPO will be discussed. This will include both the legal framework and provide hands-on claim drafting advice. The seminar also holds interest for U.S. practitioners who file in the EPO, whether or not directly involved in life sciences/healthcare.


Members of the EPO delegation include:

  • Karin Seegert (Chief Operating Officer- Healthcare, Biology and Chemistry -“HBC”)
  • Niclas Morey (Principal Director, User Support and Quality Management)
  • Albert Keyack (EPO Attaché to the US)
  • Jeremy Scott (Director HBC – Polymers)
  • Klaus-Peter Döpfer (Director HBC – Biotechnology/Immunology)
  • Eve-Marie Mayer-Martin (Director HBC – Healthcare/Bioinformatics)
  • Thomas Eijkenboom (Director HBC – Pure and Applied Organic Chemistry)

The programme will start with lunch at 12.30 on Thursday 17th, in the Westin Hotel.

Preliminary Agenda

Thursday, 17 May 2018

12:30   Lunch

Plenary Sessions

14:00   Karin Seegert (Chief Operating Officer – Sector Healthcare Biotechnology Chemistry)

Overview of the latest initiatives from the EPO, including timeliness via the Early Certainty programme.

14:30   Niclas Morey (Principal Director, User Support and Quality Management)

EPO Quality Initiatives in 2018

15:00   Coffee Break

15:30   Jeremy Scott (Director HBC/Polymers and sponsor of the EPO’s Asian         Patent Expert Group)

How and why the challenge of searching Asian documentation has become a key quality selling point of the EPO’s comprehensive search which leads to worldwide coverage of prior art.

16:15 – 17:45 Workshops (Round 1)

There will be three Workshops to be held three times in order to give the opportunity to attend all workshops. Workshops are held by one director of the EPO and an European Patent Attorney (with knowledge and experience with both the European and the US systems).

18:00   Cocktail Reception

19:30 Dinner (on invitation)


Friday, 18 May 2018

08:30 Breakfast

09:00 – 10:00 Panel Discussion Filing at the EPO as US based applicant

Panelists: EP attorney, US attorney, US company representative; Karin Seegert (COO HBC, EPO); Albert Keyack (Ambassador of the EPO to the U.S.; Niclas Morey (Principal Director User Support and Quality Management, EPO)

Moderation:  Jeremy Scott & K.-P. Döpfer (EPO)

10:30 Workshops round 2 

12:15 Workshops round 3 

14:00 Closure (Karin Seegert/AIPLA representative)


Workshop 1

Biotech/Pharma Subject-matter – Eligibility to Patentability at the EPO

How to Avoid Pitfalls for US Based Applicants

  • Klaus-Peter Döpfer (Director HBC/Biotechnology)
  • Sandra Pohlman (Partner, df-mp Patent Attorneys, Munich, Germany)

The workshop will make you acquainted with the eligibility to patentability of biotech/pharma subject-matter under the EPC. Exceptions to patentability will be discussed.

This subject-matter includes plants/animals, (stem) cells, microorganisms, methods of surgery and diagnosis, antibodies and nucleic acids and medical uses thereof; personalized medicine, dose regimens, etc.

The workshop will enable the participants to draft claims encompassing the above mentioned subject-matter which comply with the legal framework of the EPC.

Furthermore, PCT applications (in particular PCT-US applications – see also Workshop 2 “Successful Filings of PCT Applications at the EPO –Avoiding Pitfalls for US Applicants”) as the basis for European applications, and possible pitfalls, will be dealt with.


Workshop 2

Successful filings of PCT applications at the EPO – avoiding pitfalls for US applicants

  • Thomas Eijkenboom (Director HBC/Pure and Applied Organic Chemistry Sector Healthcare, Biotechnology, Chemistry)
  • Cyra Nargolwalla (Partner Cabinet Plasseraud, Paris, France)

The workshop concentrates on intricacies and pitfalls of patent prosecution at the EPO, particularly tailored to US applicants filing PCT applications as basis for European applications.

Relevant topics will be: (1) Priority entitlement and transfer; (2) The requirements for providing examples and experimental data; (3) Late filing of evidence; (4) EPO’s approach to added subject-matter; (5) Claim dependencies; (6) Singling out, selection from lists; (7) Reference documents; (8) Divisional applications; and (9) Non-unity approach of the EPO

The workshop will enable the participants to draft and prosecute applications and claims which comply with the legal framework of the EPC.


Workshop 3

Computer-implemented inventions in Biotechnology and Healthcare How to obtain patents in these fields at the EPO

  • Eve-Marie Mayer-Martin (Director HBC/Healthcare and Bioinformatics)
  • Jon Gowshall (Partner, Forresters IP LLP, London, UK)

Computer-implemented inventions (CII) are becoming more and more prevalent in healthcare and life sciences. Yet it is not well known – in particular among US applicants – that patents can be granted for such inventions at the European Patent Office (EPO). The EPO has developed an approach to examining CII which is stable and reliable in its results, thereby providing a high degree of predictability for applicants.

In this workshop you will learn how the EPO examines CII. The focus will be on showing how you can increase your chance of getting a patent on claims comprising algorithmic/mathematical steps or features relating to presentation of information.

Examples from the fields Bioinformatics and Healthcare Informatics will deepen your understanding about the decisive ingredients for a successful application in these fields.