If oral proceedings have to be arranged, the parties must be summoned to them as quickly as possible at reasonable notice (see E‑III, 6). If the first action of the opposition division is to summon the parties, the first substantive communication of the opposition division under Art. 101(1) is annexed to the summons to oral proceedings. If the parties agree, oral proceedings can be held by videoconference. For more details see E-III, 5 and E-III, 11.
Together with the summons, the opposition division will draw attention to and in the annexed communication explain the points which in its opinion need to be discussed for the purposes of the decision to be taken; where this has already been done sufficiently in a prior communication it is appropriate to refer to that communication. Normally, the annexed communication will also contain the provisional and non-binding opinion of the opposition division on the positions adopted by the parties and in particular on amendments filed by the patent proprietor. At the same time, a date will be fixed up to which written submissions may be made or amendments may be filed. Normally this date will be two months before the date of the oral proceedings. With respect to this date, Rule 132 does not apply, i.e. this time limit cannot be extended on request of the parties.
The summons to oral proceedings and the annexed communication do not constitute decisions within the meaning of Art. 106(1) and can thus only be appealed together with the final decision (see T 1954/14) unless either of them allows a separate appeal to be filed (see E‑X, 3).