EPO - L’Oréal v/ Henkel AG & CO. KGAA & Kao Germany GmbH
T2137/12 – 3.3.10
EPO - Board of Appeal
L’Oréal v/ Henkel AG & CO. KGAA & Kao Germany GmbH
The patentee, L’Oréal was represented by Véronique Crest, European Patent Attorney. The decision of the Board of Appeal is favorable to the patentee and maintains the patent as granted.
The opposition was directed against the European patent EP 1 757 327 of the company L’Oréal on the basis of inadmissible extension of the subject-matter, insufficiency, lack of novelty and lack of inventive step.
The invention relates to a ready-to-use oxidizing composition for treating keratin materials, in particular the hair, comprising three specific compounds.
The main objective of this composition is to improve the efficiency of the bleaching of keratinous fibers, while maintaining short application times.
This decision is relevant to inventive step, particularly the problem-solution approach.
In this case, the patentee conducted comparative tests that were attacked by the opponent. The decision on point 8 (8.1 to 8.5) explains in great details the comparative tests and their results. The Board responds to each argument presented by the opponent. The Board considered that the patentee’s comparative tests made it possible to state the technical problem as an improvement in the effectiveness of the bleaching.
The Board considered that this technical problem was solved by the compositions of claim 1. Then, the Board concluded that the claimed invention was inventive, as the solution to the problem of improving the efficiency of the discoloration was not suggested by the cited documents.
We are therefore facing an unexpected improvement.