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Guidelines for Examination

 
 

11.4 Technical problems

The video-conference will automatically start when the applicant dials in. If the video-conference does not start at the arranged time, the Examining Division should contact the representative or his office by telephone. If the representative cannot be contacted, or if the connection is not established for technical reasons, the video-conference should be terminated and new summons should be issued for conventional oral proceedings.

Where technical problems occur such that the oral proceedings held by video-conference cannot be conducted openly and fairly, for example due to a total or partial breakdown in communication, the right to be heard might possibly be violated (Art. 113(1)). The applicant, due to the technical problems, might be taken by surprise by the grounds mentioned in an adverse decision on which he has not had an opportunity to comment. In such cases it is advisable to terminate the video-conference and to issue new summons for conventional oral proceedings. It should be noted that the EPO will not attempt to re-establish the line in case of technical problems, but the applicant may be contacted by phone and asked to do so.

Under these circumstances, it is at the discretion of the Examining Division to decide whether the new summons would be for a further video-conference or for conventional oral proceedings.