12 April 2021
The Annual Report 2020 of the Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office was published today. It is available in English, French and German on the Boards' website.
Last year was shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the impact of this global health crisis, the Boards of Appeal were able to continue their successful reforms.
In view of the pandemic, the President of the Boards of Appeal took a series of measures that ensured the proper and seamless functioning of the Boards of Appeal as a judicial body of final instance. While physical distancing rules and strict hygiene standards were introduced for in‑person oral proceedings, the technical set-up needed to enable oral proceedings to be held by videoconference was put in place too. Staff adapted impressively to the changes in their working conditions and the resulting additional challenges.
Though the temporary disruption of oral proceedings due to the pandemic had a negative effect on productivity, the Boards of Appeal still managed to reduce the number of pending cases by 10.3%, settling 3 013 technical appeal cases in 2020.
Another important step in the reform process was the entry into force on 1 January 2020 of the revised Rules of Procedures of the Boards of Appeal, which were designed to increase efficiency, harmonisation and predictability for parties. On 1 April 2020, amended Rule 103 EPC came into force, offering new opportunities to claim partial reimbursement of the appeal fee.
Spokespersons of the Boards of Appeal
Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office
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