G1/21 – Oral Proceedings to Continue Before Examination & Opposition Divisions During Referral

Protective letters at the Unified Patent Court

The Enlarged Board of Appeal of the EPO is currently considering whether the conduct of oral proceedings by videoconference is compatible with the right to oral proceedings as enshrined in the European Patent Convention if not all parties to the proceedings have given their consent.

The conduct of oral proceedings by videoconference was introduced by the EPO as the default position in order to ensure functioning of the EPO during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The President of the EPO has today announced that whilst a decision from the Enlarged Board of Appeal is awaited oral proceedings before examination and opposition divisions will continue to be held by videoconference as under the current practice i.e. without requiring explicit agreement of the parties.

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