Withdrawal of the request for oral proceedings 

If the request for oral proceedings is explicitly withdrawn, or if a written statement is to be interpreted as equivalent to a withdrawal of the request for oral proceedings (because the party has indicated that it will not attend – see T 3/90, T 696/02 and T 1027/03 – or has requested a decision according to the state of the file – see OJ EPO 2020, A124), it is within the discretion of the division to decide whether the scheduled oral proceedings are to be maintained or to be cancelled.

If the division decides that oral proceedings are nevertheless to be conducted, this means that there are objections still outstanding that need to be discussed at the oral proceedings. Consequently the applicant and/or patentee can expect that problems relating to the requests filed in reply to the summons to oral proceedings will be dealt with at the oral proceedings.

If any applicant or patentee decides not to attend the oral proceedings, they are thereby choosing not to make use of the opportunity to comment at the oral proceedings on any of the objections, but to rely on the arguments as set out in the written submissions. The decision may be given orally in their absence. The procedural principles require that the party to the proceedings is not taken by surprise by the decision (see also E-III, 8.3.3).

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