The department responsible for the taking of evidence in the form of a hearing of witnesses, parties and experts will, in substantive examination and opposition proceedings, be the division before which the taking of evidence as part of oral proceedings would normally take place. If evidence is to be taken, the examining or opposition division will normally have been enlarged to include a legally qualified member. The division may commission one of its members to examine the evidence adduced. Generally, this will be the primary examiner under Art. 18(2) or Art. 19(2). A member may, for example, be commissioned pursuant to Rule 119(1), for the purposes of an inspection, such as in the form of a demonstration of a process or the investigation of an object, particularly in undertakings located far away.
A member may also be commissioned to attend a court hearing pursuant to Rule 120(3), and put questions to the witnesses, parties and experts.
The language for taking evidence and writing the minutes is governed by Art. 14(3) (language of the proceedings) and Rule 4 (derogations from the provisions concerning the language of the proceedings in oral proceedings); see also E‑III, 10.2 and E‑V.
Evidence can be taken on the premises of the EPO or by videoconference. For details regarding the taking of evidence by videoconference see OJ EPO 2020, A135.