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Institute of Professional Representatives before the European Patent Office

Oral proceedings by videoconference (updates April 17 and 20, 2020)

April 02, 2020

Letter from the EPO President regarding the use of video-conferencing for oral proceedings

Your president has received late last Friday a letter from the President of the EPO, wherein he explains that the EPO would now like to establish video-conferencing as the standard way of conducting oral proceedings in examination, and to allow this in opposition upon request of a party or at the instigation of the division. The letter can be read here.

The EPO has informed user representatives about this measure at a videoconference meeting of the SACEPO* Working Party Rules on 31 March, which the epi delegates have joined.

*SACEPO: Standing Advisory Council to the European Patent Office

Report of the meeting of the SACEPO Working Party Rules on 31 March, by the epi delegates (update 17 April 2020)
A report of the epi delegates can be read here.

Response of epi to the EPO President dated 31 March 2020

The Chairman of our European Patent Practice Committee (EPPC), supported by Vice-President Vogelsang-Wenke and the Chairman of our Online Communications Committee (OCC), prepared a response to the EPO President which was sent in the evening of 31 March.

Decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 1 April 2020

This decision concerns oral proceedings by videoconference before examining divisions. It has been published on the website of the EPO, with a comment explaining that it is made available in advance on the EPO website merely as a courtesy to the public.

In a nutshell, oral proceedings before examining divisions are to be held by videoconference; the decision states that they are equivalent to oral proceedings held on the premises of the EPO. Oral proceedings may be held on the premises of the EPO if there are serious reasons against holding them by videoconference. The decision states that if technical problems preventing the oral proceedings by videoconference cannot be overcome during the videoconference, the examining division will issue a new summons to oral proceedings, but if an applicant fails to connect to the oral proceedings by videoconference for reasons other than technical problems, the proceedings may continue. Please refer to the Decision and to the Notice published on the same date for the details.

Open letter to the President of the European Patent Office
(update 17 April 2020)

A group of Italian colleagues has written an open letter to the President of the EPO, with a copy to the President of epi.

With the permission of the authors, we have decided to publish this open letter for information of our members, whilst explicitly specifying that that the publication of our letter does not imply that the views expressed in that letter reflect those of the Institute. For views of epi, please refer to the letter of epi to the President of the EPO dated 31 March.

Should epi receive any further letters on this topic, they will be published in the Members section of the Forum, accessible after login.

Please share your experience with us
(update 20 April 2020)

Our European Patent Practice Committee would like to collect your experiences, good or bad, in order to provide anonymised feedback to the EPO and its President.

After login to the member-only section, please post your contribution here (for examination) or here (for opposition), mentioning the file number.
We thank you for your contribution.

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