| Europäisches Patentamt

Oral proceedings before the EPO only on Zoom

Zoom
has proven to be a reliable and secure videoconference platform for
conducting oral proceedings (OPs). This is confirmed  by the positive
experiences gained over the last months from OPs held via this platform,
in appeal, opposition (entirely so since January) and in examination
(dozens conducted since May). The EPO is grateful to those applicants
and representatives who kindly agreed to the ad hoc conversion of their
examination OPs to Zoom as part of our trial this spring. 

With
effect from 1 October 2021, all OPs before the Receiving Section, the
Legal Division and the Examining Divisions will thus 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.   

The
EPO website already features updated Frequently Asked Questions on this
topic. The European Patent Academy provides extensive training
materials in relation to OPs by VICO. Additional training courses hosted
on the Academy’s e-learning centre, and directed towards OPs by
videoconference for both examination and opposition, will be advertised
shortly.