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 microphone, namely a USB headset with integrated microphone or a unidirectional USB microphone (clip-on or stand-alone) with echo-cancelling function.
    For oral proceedings involving simultaneous interpretation, in particular,

    please do not use

    a computer, 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 because hey do not cover the frequency range of 125 Hz to 15000 Hz that simultaneous interpreters need to listen and speak at the same time; as stipulated in ISO/PAS standard 24019: Simultaneous interpreting delivery platforms - Requirements and recommendations.

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

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

    Watch the video: some dos and don'ts for online meetings with interpretation (8 mins)

    Microphones – dos and don’ts

  • System
    Please ensure that you use an up-to-date Windows or Macintosh operating system. The same applies to your mobile device if you wish to use the Zoom mobile App for iOS or Android (latest version!).
  • 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 more stable than a wireless connection.
  • Camera
    We recommend using a good quality webcam (HD 720p or above). Most importantly, each person should have their own camera. If you use one single camera for several people, it should have a pan/tilt/zoom function.
  • Monitor/Screen
    Please use a good-quality (minimum HD) monitor/screen; also, the larger the screen the better the visual experience.

Test call

Parties who are attending oral proceedings for the first time, or participating in oral proceedings with simultaneous interpretation for the first time, or who have changed their technical set-up since the last time are strongly advised to arrange a test call before the date of the oral proceedings. This should be done in good time (at least ten working days, ideally two to three weeks 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, contact the EPO ServiceLine (telephone +31 70 340 4444 or email serviceline@epo.org). They will 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
  • For simultaneous interpreting, access to multiple audio channels is available.

Technical support

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


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.

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Users involved in oral proceedings on 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 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 without simultaneous interpreting

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

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 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.

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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