If oral proceedings have to be arranged, the parties must be summoned to them as quickly as possible at reasonable notice (see E‑II, 6). If oral proceedings have been requestedthe first action of the Opposition Division is to summon the parties, the first substantive communication of the Opposition Division under Art. 101(1) is normally annexed to the summons to oral proceedings.
Together with the summons, the Opposition Division will draw attention to and in the annexed communication explain the points which in its opinion need to be discussed for the purposes of the decision to be taken; where this has already been done sufficiently in a prior communication it is appropriate to refer to that communication. Normally, the annexed communication will also contain the provisional and non-binding opinion of the Opposition Division on the positions adopted by the parties and in particular on amendments filed by the patent proprietorof the patent. At the same time, a date will be fixed up to which written submissions may be made or amendments meeting the requirements of the EPC may be filed. Normally this date will be one month two months before the date of the oral proceedings. However, an earlier date may be advisable if it is anticipated that a party will reasonably need more time, for example to consider the results of comparative tests filed by the other party. With respect to this date, Rule 132 does not apply, i.e. this time limit cannot be extended on request of the parties.