2.7.3 Non-attendance at oral proceedings before the boards – Article 15(3) RPBA 2007

The introduction of Art. 11(3) RPBA 2003 (now Art. 15(3) RPBA 2007) superseded the findings of G 4/92 for the non-attendance at the oral proceedings before the boards (T 706/00). For cases in which the applicant files amended claims in appeal proceedings after the oral proceedings have been arranged and then does not attend them, see chapter V.A.4.5.3 a) "Absence of applicant (patent proprietor) from oral proceedings". The appellant can reasonably expect that during the oral proceedings the board will consider the objections and issues raised in its communication. By not attending the oral proceedings, the appellant effectively chooses not to avail itself of the opportunity to present its observations and counter-arguments orally but instead to rely on its written case (Art. 15(3) RPBA 2007; see e.g. ex parte cases J 15/10, T 1625/06, T 628/07; see also T 55/91). As cited in T 991/07, the explanatory notes to then Art. 11(3) RPBA (CA 133/02, dated 12 November 2002) state that Art. 15(3) RPBA 2007 "does not contradict the principle of the right to be heard pursuant to Article 113(1) EPC since that Article only affords the opportunity to be heard and, by absenting itself from the oral proceedings, a party gives up that opportunity."

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