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The 2020 CIPA Life Sciences Webinar Series

Monday 16th November 2020

Topic: EP Case Law Update

Date: Monday 16th November, 2020

Time: 12:00 - 1:15pm GMT

Agenda to Include:

Implications of Covid 19 on Prosecution
Implications of Covid 19 on proceedings at EPO
G3/19 decision


Gareth Probert, Partner and Head of Healthtech at EIP


During his 20-year career in the profession Gareth has gained substantial experience in medtech and healthcare, in particular the FMCG, formulation, peptide, food and chemical sectors.  Gareth is highly skilled in contentious IP having represented clients in more than 250 Opposition and Appeal hearings at all levels of the European Patent Office, and has a track record of success in high-value difficult cases, including in several oppositions which were carried out in conjunction with parallel litigation proceedings.

Prior to joining EIP Gareth spent the last 10 years at two leading IP firms where he held senior positions.  Gareth has a PhD in Synthesis using Zirconocene and a degree in Chemistry and Organic Chemistry, both from Southampton University.

Christopher Rennie-Smith, European Patent Consultant

After studying at Cambridge University and the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, Christopher lectured at Sheffield University for four years, qualified as an English lawyer (solicitor) in 1978, and then practised intellectual property litigation in London for over twenty years.  He was appointed a legally qualified member of the Boards of Appeal at the European Patent Office in 1999, becoming a member of the Enlarged Board of Appeal in 2005 and Chair of a biotechnology technical board in 2010.  He was chair or member in hundreds of EPO appeal cases and, since 2007, many petitions for review.  He was also one of the draftsmen of the 2003 version of the Rules of Procedure of the Boards of Appeal.

Christopher has lectured regularly in patent law since 2001 and from 2007 onwards was also involved in judicial training for both new members of the Boards of Appeal and judges from European national courts.  Since retiring from the Boards of Appeal in 2014 he has remained actively involved in teaching and training in patent law and procedure and has in recent years been a visiting lecturer at Cambridge, Bournemouth and Uppsala universities.  However, his principal activity is now advising as a consultant on all aspects of European patents and procedure.

As well as English, he speaks fluent French and German and passable Swedish.

Mike Snodin, Park Grove IP

Mike is the owner and founder of Park Grove IP, and is a UK and European Patent Attorney with over 20 years of experience.  Mike has particular expertise and experience in pharma-related IP issues, and is a well-known figure in the SPC community.

Mike is the author of numerous publications and is a contributor (on SPCs) to both the CIPA Guide to the Patents Act and the European Patents Handbook.  Examples of Mike’s publications on SPCs include articles that were the first to propose ground-breaking concepts that have subsequently been accepted by the CJEU, namely zero / negative term SPCs (affirmed by the CJEU in C-125/10) and the use of the notification date of an EMA / EC marketing authorisation to set SPC term (affirmed by the CJEU in C-471/14).

Graham Ashley, EPO Board of Appeal

Graham is chairman of an EPO board of appeal in mechanics, dealing with a wide range of general technology, such as the building/construction industry, oil exploration, weapons, metal processing, furniture and sanitary equipment (somebody has to do the toilets).

His background is metallurgy and has a PhD in electrochemistry from Cambridge. He has worked, among other places, in the steel industry, for the European Space Agency and for a law firm in Toronto. In 1996 he was called to the Bar (Lincoln’s Inn), but moved straight away to the EPO in Munich to work as a patent examiner.

He was a member of the committee for the European Qualifying Examination (C – Paper: Opposition), and was responsible for drafting one of the exam papers.

He regularly gives talks and presentations on EPO case law and procedures, most recently on inventive step, clarity and the work of the boards of appeal. He is also involved with the training of new members of the boards of appeal, and contributes to a CIPA workshop on training patent attorneys for oral proceedings.


Simon Wright, J A Kemp

Simon has a Chemistry (with Biochemistry) degree from Bristol University and qualified as a UK patent attorney in 1990. He became a European Patent Attorney in 1992 and joined J A Kemp in 1994 (after working for 8 years in another London private practice firm). He became a partner in J A Kemp’s biotechnology group in 2005.

Simon handles patent work in a wide variety of life science and pharma fields, including stem cells, human genes and genomics, drug delivery systems, contrast agents, GM crops and CRISPR technology. He works for a broad variety of clients ranging from UK universities and biotechnology start-ups, US genomics and academic institutions and European-based multinational corporations. He gave evidence as an expert witness to the UK High Court in Eli Lilly vs. Human Genome Sciences.

Simon is the Chairman of CIPA’s Life Sciences Committee and is a member of CIPA’s Council, and Patents Committee and International Liaison Committee. He is Secretary of the epi’s Biotechnological Inventions Committee and a member of epi Council and the By-Laws committee. He enjoys drinking wine, playing the sax, running and cycling (but not necessarily at the same time).



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