Further Updates on EPO Oral Proceedings

August 2020

Opposition Division
The EPO has now announced that oral proceedings in opposition scheduled up to 31 December 2020 have been postponed, unless these have either already been confirmed to take place by videoconference or will be held by videoconference with the parties' consent under the pilot scheme for videoconference oral proceedings before opposition divisions.

Full details can be seen on the EPO website.

Examining Division
Oral proceedings in examination will continue to be held by videoconference.

Boards of Appeal
There have been some further changes to the procedure for oral proceedings before the Boards of Appeal.

-    If parties cannot attend oral proceedings for which they have been summoned to attend in person, they will now have to request a change of date.

-    Owing to the need for physical distancing, only a limited number of suitable rooms are available at the Board of Appeal premises and some oral proceedings may have to be held elsewhere in Munich.  Starting times may be staggered, and proceedings will be subject to changes of venue or starting time at short notice. It will be up to the parties to consult the online calendar approximately three days before their oral proceedings to check the details.

-    Attendance in person will be generally restricted to a maximum of two people per party. Parties wishing to attend with more than two people should submit a reasoned request to that effect in advance of the oral proceedings. 

-    Oral proceedings before the Boards of Appeal can now also be conducted using videoconferencing technology, although only if the parties concerned agree, and those parties will be sent a communication about this in advance.

Full details can be seen here.