The European Patent Office (EPO) Boards of Appeal have issued a new communication today advising that, to a limited extent, the Boards of Appeal will resume holding oral proceedings from Monday 18th May 2020. Parties will be contacted accordingly by communication and asked to confirm that they expect to be able to attend in person and that they do not anticipate being affected by travel restrictions.
With the agreement of all parties concerned, oral proceedings before the Boards of Appeal may now also be held by video-conference.
Oral proceedings before the Boards of Appeal are public (whether being held by video-conference or on the Boards of Appeal premises). Limited places will be available for members of the public to attend oral proceedings in the current circumstances. Therefore, the EPO is encouraging visitors to give notice of their interest in attending by using the EPO contact form.
All visitors to the Boards of Appeal premises will be asked to complete a simple screening questionnaire in advance of their arrival.
The communication from the Boards of Appeal can be found here.
On 13 May 2020, the EPO website also published a Decision of the President of the EPO concerning the filing of documents during telephone consultations and during interviews and oral proceedings held by video-conference. The Decision indicates that documents filed during telephone consultations and during interviews and oral proceedings held by video-conference, must be filed by email. The Decision covers some of the formal aspects of filing documents by email and makes it clear that submissions filed by email will be made available for file inspection in accordance with EPO provisions relating to the inspection of files. The Decision will be published in the EPO Official Journal. Only the text subsequently published in the officially certified PDF file of the Official Journal is authentic.