4.6. Oral proceedings conducted by video conference

In T 1266/07 (ex parte) the appellant/applicant requested that the oral proceedings before the board be conducted by video conference. The board refused the request as being filed late but stated that in future such a request might be allowed. For this to happen, however, it would be necessary for a general framework to exist. While video conferencing before an examining division is explicitly regulated, there is no corresponding provision for the boards of appeal; in particular, it is not mentioned in the RPBA. In addition, oral proceedings held before the examining division are, in accordance with Art. 116(3) EPC, not public, whereas those before the boards of appeal are public, Art. 116(4) EPC. It would be necessary to ensure that the use of video conferencing is reconciled with the requirement that oral proceedings before the boards be public.

The examining division's rejection of the applicant's request to hold oral proceedings by video conference must be reasoned, R. 111(2) EPC (T 677/08).

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