4.8.1 Content of minutes

In T 642/97 the board stated that according to R. 76 EPC 1973 (R. 124 EPC) the minutes should contain "the essentials of the oral proceedings ... and the relevant statements by the parties...". It stressed that this provision did not require that the minutes reflect the full arguments of the parties. It was within the discretion of the minute­writer to decide what he considered "essential" or "relevant" (see T 212/97). Whereas minutes were required to contain the requests or similarly important procedural statements, most of the arguments concerning patentability were normally apparent from the previous written submissions or from the facts and submissions in the written decision and did not need to be contained in the minutes.

In T 263/05 (OJ 2008, 329) the board held that the minutes of oral proceedings before the boards of appeal should record the requests of the parties on which a decision of the board is required, such as the allowability or otherwise of the appeal, the form in which the proprietor seeks maintenance of the patent, requests for remittal of the case or relating to appeal fees or costs. The minutes should also record specific statements which have an impact on the definition of the subject-matter, such as statements of surrender or abandonment of subject-matter, where these are relevant to the decision to be taken (see also T 212/97, T 928/98). The arguments of the parties concerning patentability should not be recorded.

In T 240/09, the board held that requests which had been withdrawn were usually irrelevant for the board's decision and, therefore, not "essential".

In T 396/89 there was disagreement between the parties as to whether the appellant had or had not made a concession on a particular point before the opposition division. There was no record of this in the minutes of the proceedings. The board held that if an important matter of fact was conceded, that concession ought to be carefully recorded in the minutes.

In R 14/09 the Enlarged Board of Appeal held that an objection under R. 106 EPC must be recorded in the minutes since it was a relevant statement of a party (see also R 2/12).

In T 1798/08 the board held that it was not the function of the minutes to record statements which a party considers to be possibly relevant, such as the statement made by the representative of the appellant opponent relating to the board's alleged denial of the legal right to be heard. This statement did not relate to the surrender or abandonment of subject-matter and did not otherwise have any impact on the definition of the subject-matter to be dealt with by board. It did not form part of the essentials of the oral proceedings and was not relevant for the present decision, either.

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