Oral proceedings held as a video-conference at the European Patent Office: technical guidelines

The standard platform for oral proceedings held by videoconference (VICO) is Zoom.

General requirements

Audio

Always use "join with computer audio" when joining a Zoom meeting and check that you have selected the correct device in the Zoom audio settings.

If two or more people who are physically present in the same room intend to speak during the proceedings, they should each use their own individual audio and video equipment to connect to the proceedings. If feasible, they should remove their mask while speaking.

Microphones

Please use a high-quality microphone, namely a USB headset with integrated microphone or a unidirectional USB microphone (clip-on or stand-alone) with a frequency response of at least 125 Hz to 15 000 Hz and an echo-cancelling function.

Please use audio devices that are connected to the computer by USB cable. Devices connected to the computer using Bluetooth are only acceptable if an additional Bluetooth USB connector is used, and if the participant is alone in the room to avoid interference.

For VICOs involving interpreting in particular it is not recommended to use microphones built into a PC, wireless headsets connected to the computer via its built-in Bluetooth, phone earbuds (even if wired) or standard VICO room equipment with omnidirectional microphones, which are often shared. None of these perform adequately for remote interpreting. They do not cover the frequency range of 125 Hz to 15 000 Hz that simultaneous interpreters need in order to be able to listen and speak at the same time, as stipulated in ISO/PAS standard 24019.

Speakers

Please do not use external speakers as these can cause echoes. We recommend using a headset or headphones.

Microphones – dos and don’ts

System

To prevent resource issues, we recommend that you use a powerful computer running a recent Windows or Macintosh operating system. The same applies to your mobile device if you want to use the Zoom mobile app for iOS or Android.

Bandwidth

Please make sure you have enough internet bandwidth. You should have at least 2Mbps of free up- and download bandwidth. A cabled network connection is more stable than a wireless connection.

Camera

We recommend using a good-quality webcam (HD 720p or above) positioned to provide a close-up head shot of the speaker. Most importantly, each person should have their own camera.

Monitor/Screen

It is important to use a good-quality monitor/screen. Also, the larger the screen the better the visual experience.

Test call

Parties who are attending oral proceedings are strongly advised to arrange a test call before the date of the oral proceedings. This should be done in good time (preferably two to three weeks – but at least five working days – beforehand), but not more than a month in advance, because of potential software updates. Needless to say, the test call should be carried out from the location and with the equipment that will actually be used by the party during the proceedings.

To arrange a test call with us, please send an email to EPOvicotest@epo.org and include your preferred date, your application number and the name and contact details (phone number and email address) of each participant. We will then schedule a 30-minute test session (available Mondays to Fridays between 08.30 and 18.00 CET) and send you an invitation with the connection details for the call.

The test will be an opportunity to check that:

  • The VICO application works properly
  • The connection is stable and both audio and video are of adequate quality
  • It is possible for both sides to present content
  • If applicable, access to multiple voice channels is available for simultaneous interpreting.

Technical support

Should you experience any issues in establishing the connection, please contact the EPO videoconferencing service on: (+31) (0) 70 340 4444.

Privacy

Read the EPO Data protection & privacy policy for information about data collection and usage, the data retention policy, security, and specific privacy rights for European residents. The EPO will keep connection details as communicated by the parties as non-public information.

Zoom

Users involved in oral proceedings on Zoom are invited to familiarise themselves with the following technical requirements and recommendations.

Supported systems for Zoom

For oral proceedings held by Zoom, the EPO supports the following technologies:

  • Zoom desktop client installed on Windows or Mac (regularly updated to the latest version!)
  • Zoom mobile app for iOS or Android (regularly updated to the latest version!)
  • Zoom web client (Chromium Edge 80 or higher, Google Chrome 53.0.2785 or higher, Firefox 76 or higher, Internet Explorer 10 or higher, Safari 10.0.602.1.50 or higher) for oral proceedings in opposition. As oral proceedings in examination held by Zoom are end-to-end encrypted, the Zoom web client is not suitable for oral proceedings in examination.


Regardless of which Zoom set-up you have, you are advised to run a compatibility test of your equipment with the EPO, preferably at least five working days before the oral proceedings are due to take place (see "Test call" above).

For more information see Getting started in the Zoom help centre.

Privacy for Zoom

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