Checking the identity and authorisations of participants at oral proceedings 

If the parties or their representatives are representative is not personally known to at least one member of the division, it is necessary to check their identity before the start of the oral proceedings. During a videoconference, this can be done by requesting the representative to show their EPO badge or ID card to the camera. An ID card may be shown solely in a private session unless there is only one representative or party connected to the videoconference; where necessary, a separate session is established for that purpose.

In the case of oral proceedings held by videoconference, copies of identity documents can also be filed via the EPO online filing options no later than two days prior to the oral proceedings or via email to the address provided to the parties at the beginning of the oral proceedings. For data protection reasons, copies of identity documents sent via email are deleted and are not included in the file. Copies submitted via EPO online filing options are put in the non-public part of the file.

In order for the division to be able to confirm the identity of the person concerned, the full name (first name and surname) and the picture of the ID should be visible. All the other information on the identity document can be kept hidden if so wished, as long as it is possible to recognise that it is an official identity document.

For accompanying persons, including those who will be making oral submissions (see E-III, 8.5), it is sufficient that their identity is confirmed by the relevant representative.

Professional representatives need to file authorisations only in exceptional cases (see the Decision of the President of the EPO dated 12 July 2007, Special edition No. 3, OJ EPO 2007, L.1).

Authorisations need be checked only if a party is represented by a person whose authorisation is not apparent from the file. If it is established that the person is either

a professional representative acting under a sub-authorisation 
a professional representative from the same agency as the representative acting in the case, or 
a natural person (e.g. executive director) authorised by law in the party's country of business to act on behalf of that party 

then no further check is required.

If however the person is:

a professional representative who is neither from the same agency nor acting under a sub-authorisation, and his/her attendance at the oral proceedings is his/her first appearance in the procedure, or 
a legal practitioner or a party's employee who is not an authorised professional representative 

then the procedure is as follows:

In case (a), the division will check the file to see whether the previous representative's authorisation has lapsed. A change in representative or the termination of the authorisation of a previous representative may have been effected via an electronic notification through the My Files service (see OJ EPO 2012, 352). If the previous representative's authorisation has lapsed, no further action is required. If not, the representative concerned will be requested to provide a reference to a registered general authorisation or to file an individual authorisation.

In case (b), the division will request the person concerned to provide a reference to a registered general authorisation or to file – by email in the case of oral proceedings by videoconference (OJ EPO 2020, A71) – an individual authorisation.

Any person without an authorisation will be requested to submit one without delay. If they are unable to do so straight away, a time limit of two months will be set for its submission. The fact that the authorisation was missing, and the time limit set for submitting it, must be recorded in the minutes. The proceedings then continue in the normal way, except that no decision can be pronounced at the end. Instead, the decision is issued in writing once the missing authorisation has been filed. At the end of the proceedings, the party concerned must be reminded to file the authorisation.

The person conducting the proceedings will have the particulars of the persons taking part taken and their authorisations checked, where necessary, before the start of the oral proceedings. Parties and their representatives must identify themselves unless they are known to the person conducting the proceedings or any of the members of the examining or opposition division.

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