September 27, 2021
The President of the EPO has decided that all oral proceedings before the Legal Division are to be by videoconference from 1 July 2021, unless there are “serious reasons” against using videoconference.
The venue will be deemed to be wherever the Legal Division is set up and parties can connect to the videoconference from different locations on condition that the number of additional participants does not impair the efficient conduct of the proceedings.
All documents are to be transmitted to the email address indicated by the Legal Division and they will also be emailed to the other parties.
The President issued a further, separate Decision on 9 June 2021 stating that, from 1 July 2021, all oral proceedings before the Receiving Section will also be held by videoconference.
The EPO has also announced that all oral proceedings are to be held exclusively on Zoom from 1 October 2021.
The EPO says that Zoom has proven to be a reliable and secure videoconference platform for conducting oral proceedings (OPs). Therefore, with effect from 1 October 2021, all OPs before the Receiving Section, the Legal Division and the Examining Divisions will be held exclusively by Zoom.
The EPO has decided to decommission Skype for Business as of 1 October 2021. Any OPs already scheduled to take place via Skype for Business will thus be converted to Zoom as of that date. Users are therefore encouraged to take all necessary steps to adapt their videoconferencing tools accordingly, as this platform may also be used for personal consultations. To read the President’s Decision in full, click here. To read the EPO’s announcement in full, click here.