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Referral to the Enlarged Board of Appeal – G 1/23 (“solar cell”)

A Technical Board of Appeal of the EPO has referred questions to the EPO’s Enlarged Board of Appeal regarding the definition of the state of the art in relation to a commercially available product (link).

The referring Board asks whether the commercial availability of a product and partial information about its composition (e.g. datasheets) can be state of the art, even when the composition or internal structure cannot be analysed or reproduced. This is critical for the referring case, as the possibility to use such a product in the inventive step assessment is decisive. The last question considers what threshold is required for the “undue burden” criterion in r.1.4 of G 1/92.