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Law & practice

Decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 9 June 2021 concerning oral proceedings by videoconference before the Receiving Section

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This text is intended for publication in the Official Journal (OJ) of the EPO. It is made available in advance on the EPO website merely as a courtesy to the public. Only the text subsequently published in the officially certified PDF file of the OJ is authentic. It cannot be guaranteed that this advance version accurately replicates that text.

The President of the European Patent Office, having regard to Articles 10(2)(a) and 116 of the European Patent Convention (EPC), has decided as follows:

Article 1

Oral proceedings by videoconference before the Receiving Section

(1) Oral proceedings before the Receiving Section in accordance with Article 116(2) EPC are to be held by videoconference. The applicant and its representative may connect to the oral proceedings by videoconference from different locations.

(2) Notwithstanding paragraph 1, oral proceedings may be held on the premises of the European Patent Office, either at the request of the applicant or at the instigation of the Receiving Section, if there are serious reasons against holding the oral proceedings by videoconference. If a request to hold oral proceedings on the premises of the European Patent Office is refused, the applicant will be informed of the reasons; such a refusal is not separately appealable.

(3) Oral proceedings by videoconference are equivalent to oral proceedings held on the premises of the European Patent Office.

(4) The venue of the oral proceedings will be deemed to be the location where the Receiving Section is set up.

Article 2

Submissions during oral proceedings by videoconference

During oral proceedings by videoconference before the Receiving Section, documents are to be filed by means of electronic communication in accordance with the decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 13 May 2020 concerning the filing of documents during telephone consultations and during interviews and oral proceedings held by videoconference (OJ EPO 2020, A71). Documents must be sent to the email address indicated by the Receiving Section.

Article 3

Technical problems

If technical problems preventing the oral proceedings by videoconference from being conducted in accordance with the applicant's rights under Articles 113 and 116 EPC cannot be overcome during the videoconference, the Receiving Section will issue a new summons to oral proceedings.

Article 4

Non-attendance at oral proceedings by videoconference

If an applicant fails to connect to the oral proceedings by videoconference for reasons other than technical problems, the proceedings may continue in accordance with Rule 115(2) EPC.

Article 5

Entry into force

This decision enters into force on 1 July 2021. It applies to all oral proceedings before the Receiving Section scheduled to take place on or after that date.

Done at Munich, 9 June 2021

António CAMPINOS

President