E‑III, 1. General - Guidelines for Examination

By "oral proceedings" is meant formal proceedings within the meaning of Art. 116. The term therefore does not include informal personal interviews or telephone conversations, such as occur in examination proceedings and limitation/revocation proceedings (see C‑VII, 2). In view of Rule 81(2), such informal personal interviews or telephone conversations are not allowed in opposition proceedings, in which more than one party is involved, unless the interview or telephone conversation concerns matters which do not affect the interests of other parties. An example is proceedings for examining the admissibility of opposition, provided this involves only the EPO and the opponent concerned.

Oral proceedings will take place before the competent body, e.g. within the Receiving Section before the competent formalities officer and during the examination and opposition procedure before the whole division. In matters lying within its competence, oral proceedings can be held before the Legal Division. The right to oral proceedings forms a substantial part of the right to be heard under Art. 113.

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