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

The EPO operates two VICO platforms

  • Zoom, for proceedings involving multiple opponents and/or requiring simultaneous interpretation; and
  • Skype for Business (SfB), in other cases

Please select the one suited to your needs

General requirements

  • System
    Please make sure to use a powerful computer running a recent Windows, or Macintosh operating system to prevent resource issues. The same applies to your mobile device if you want to use Zoom mobile App for iOS or Android.
  • Bandwidth
    Please make sure enough Internet bandwidth is available. You should have at least 2Mbps of free up- and download bandwidth. A cabled network connection is preferable over a wireless connection.
  • Camera
    Please use a good quality webcam (HD 720p or above), preferably a PTZ (Pan-Tilt-Zoom) model. Please be advised that most built-in webcams do not deliver the required quality and flexibility.
  • Audio
    Please use a high quality audio device, e.g. microphone and speakers or a headset with a frequency response of at least 125 Hz to 15000 Hz and an echo-cancelling function.
  • Monitor/Screen
    Please make sure a good quality monitor/screen is used; the larger the screen the better the visual experience.

Test call

Users are strongly advised to perform a test call in good time prior to the date of the opposition oral proceedings, i.e. at least 10 working days in advance.

The EPO offers the possibility for test calls on Mondays to Fridays (except days on which the EPO filing offices are closed) from 11:00 to 16:00 hours CET.

A test call can be arranged by contacting the EPO ServiceLine by telephone (+31) (0) 70 340 4444 or by e-mail serviceline@epo.org.

EPO ServiceLine will schedule a 30 minutes test session and send you an invitation with the connection details for the call.

Goals that need to be met in the test are:

  • Correct functioning of the VICO application
  • A stable connection, both audio and video should be of adequate quality
  • Presentation of content should be possible in both directions.

Technical support

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

Privacy

Read the EPO Data protection & privacy policy for the aspects about collected data, how they are used, 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.


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As announced in the Notice from the European Patent Office dated 14 April 2020 concerning the pilot project for oral proceedings by videoconference before opposition divisions (OJ EPO 2020, A42), oral proceedings may be held by videoconference in opposition if all parties to the oral proceedings agree. As of 14 September 2020, technical infrastructure has been put in place to also enable the holding of oral proceedings in opposition requiring simultaneous interpretation. This infrastructure may also be used for oral proceedings with several opponents. Users interested in holding such oral proceedings should familiarize themselves with the following technical requirements and recommendations.

Supported systems for Zoom

The EPO supports the following technologies for connecting to oral proceedings in opposition requiring simultaneous interpretation held as a video-conference:

  • Zoom desktop client installation on Windows, Mac OS (version 4.5.3261.0825 or higher)
  • Zoom mobile App for iOS (version 4.5.0 [3261.0825] or higher) or Android (version 4.5.3261.0825 or higher).

If you have any of the above Zoom setup you are advised to run a compatibility test of your equipment with the EPO, preferably at least 10 working days before the oral proceedings are due to take place (see "Test call" above).

Please note that due to its limited functionality, the Zoom Web client is not suitable to attend oral proceedings requiring simultaneous interpretation. It is thus not possible to use the Zoom Web client.

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

High-quality audio is essential for simultaneous interpretation. Preferably, use a microphone or wired headset certified for Zoom.

Privacy for Zoom

As announced in the Updated notice from the European Patent Office dated 15 November 2018 concerning interviews and oral proceedings to be held as a video-conference (OJ EPO 2018, A96), since 2019 video-conferences with the EPO are conducted using IP technology only. Users interested in holding an interview or oral proceedings before an examining or opposition division as a video-conference should familiarise themselves with the following technical requirements and recommendations.

Supported systems for Skype for Business (SfB)

The EPO supports the following technologies for connecting to interviews and oral proceedings held as a video-conference:

  • Microsoft Skype for Business (SfB) Clients and SfB Room Systems
  • Browser based Web Meeting via Skype for Business Web App
  • SIP/H.323 video-conferencing systems

If you have a Skype for Business or SIP/H.323 setup you are advised to run a compatibility test of your equipment with the EPO well before the oral proceedings are due to take place (see "Test call" above).

If you prefer to connect to the EPO via web browser, the Skype for Business Web App is freely usable without the need for any software download.

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