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Case Law of the Boards of Appeal

 
 
b)
Booked holidays 

The board in T 1102/03 applied Art. 15(2) RPBA and the provisions of the 2000 Notice (confirmed by the 2007 Notice) and stated that, while a holiday was a possible valid basis for a request, it was not necessarily a sufficient reason for postponement. The board held that the case at issue presented circumstances which entailed a special organisational burden. The effort of postponing fixed oral proceedings until a date might be found which would suit numerous parties, the members of an extended board, and the facility management of the EPO, outweighed the effort of postponing or interrupting one representative's holiday booked to a destination within Europe.

In T 1610/08 the respondent's representative requested that the oral proceedings before the board be postponed as he had already firmly booked a holiday. The board declined the request and held that point 2.1 of the 2007 Notice, which lists pre-booked holidays as a potential reason for postponement, had to be balanced against point 2.3 of the Notice, according to which every request should explain why the representative could not be substituted. The board was of the opinion that the circumstances indicated by the respondent with respect to point 2.3 of the Notice (namely, the representative had a long-standing relationship of trust with the client, he was the only one with knowledge of the client's business or technology, and his knowledge of the earlier proceedings before the opposition division was unique and irreplaceable) were in fact common to all cases in which substitution was involved. In the board's view, only extraordinary circumstances, i.e. those which were not common to every case of substitution, should be accepted.