Oral proceedings via video conference

The EPO announced on November 10, 2020 that it was no longer necessary to obtain the consent of the parties for the conduct of oral proceedings in opposition proceedings as a video conference effective from January 4, 2021. The parties involved will be informed accordingly.

In bilateral opposition proceedings, the conduct of oral proceedings via video conference has so far been subject to the consent of the parties. This regulation is no longer valid. As part of the pilot project launched on 4 May 2020 in response to the COVID-related contact and travel restrictions, the EPO has been conducting oral hearings by video conference before examination divisions since 1 April 2020 and also before opposition divisions since 4 May 2020.

Finally, all on-site and face-to-face opposition hearings have been suspended until 31 December 2020. This arrangement has now been extended until September 15, 2021.

In the future, oral hearings before examining and opposition divisions will only be held in person on the premises of the EPO if there are serious reasons not to use video conferencing.

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