INFORMATION FROM THE EPO
Notices of the Vice-Presidents
Notice of the Vice-Presidents Directorates-General 2 and 3 dated 1 September 1997 concerning oral proceedings before the EPO
1. The current practice for fixing the date of oral proceedings, both before the first department of instance and before the boards of appeal, was published in OJ EPO 1989, 132.
At the same time it was said that the procedure would be reviewed if serious difficulties were encountered.
2. During the past years, the number of oral proceedings has been steadily increasing and the Office is faced with the problem of finding rooms available for oral proceedings within a reasonable delay. Measures have to be taken in order to reduce the time gap between despatch of the summons to oral proceedings and the date of the hearing.
3. After discussion in the Standing Advisory Committee before the EPO (SACEPO), it has been decided to implement as from 1 November 1997 a modified procedure:
(1) before the first department of instance: In ex parte proceedings the division should generally agree a single suitable date with the applicant or its representative by telephone. In inter partes proceedings the division proposes a first date and one alternative which should be separated by at least a full week.
(2) before the boards of appeal: The board proposes in ex parte as well as in inter partes proceedings a first date and an alternative one. The two dates are generally in the same week.
(3) as a common practice both before the first department of instance and before the boards: If none of the dates is suitable to the parties, further proposals will be made. If after this it is clear that the parties are being obstructive, a date for oral proceedings will be fixed.