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Oral proceedings by videoconference – the attorneys’ view

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

The EPO operates two VICO platforms

  • Zoom, for oral proceedings in opposition; and
  • Skype for Business (SfB), in other cases

Please select the one suited to your needs

General requirements

  • Audio

    Please use a high-quality audio device, namely a USB headset with integrated microphone or a USB microphone (clip-on or stand-alone) with echo-cancelling function.

    Please DO NOT USE:

    Microphones built into a PC, wireless headsets connected to the computer via Bluetooth, phone earbuds (even if wired) or standard VICO room equipment with array microphones. None of these perform adequately for remote interpreting. They do not cover the frequency range of 125 Hz to 15000 Hz that simultaneous interpreters need to listen and speak at the same time; see ISO/PAS standard 24019.

    Note that if two or more people are physically present in the same room and intend to speak during the proceedings, they MUST avoid echoes and MUST each have their own headset/microphone and camera. Preferably they should remove their mask while speaking.

  • 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.
  • 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 (ideally 2-3 weeks) in advance. In view of possible software updates, it is not recommended to perform the test call too early.

A test call can be arranged by contacting the EPO ServiceLine on Mondays to Fridays (except days on which the EPO filing offices are closed) from 07.30 to 18.00 CET, by telephone (+31) (0) 70 340 4444 or by e-mail serviceline@epo.org. The subsequent test call will take place between 11.00 and 16.00 CET on the agreed date.

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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Users involved in oral proceedings by Zoom are invited to familiarise 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 held as a VICO:

  • Zoom desktop client installation on Windows (version 5.2.1, i.e. 44052.0816 or higher), 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)
  • 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 not involving simultaneous interpreting

Please note that due to its limited functionality, the Zoom web client is not suitable to attend oral proceedings requiring simultaneous interpreting. It is thus not possible to use the Zoom web client for those cases.

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).

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

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

Privacy for Zoom

Users involved in an interview or oral proceedings held by VICO using Skype for Business 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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