In 2020, the European Patent Office and the Boards of Appeal adopted various precautionary measures in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. These were revised several times in the course of the year.
In particular, in 2020 the Boards of Appeal began to conduct oral proceedings in two different formats, namely with the parties attending either in person or by videoconference.
In 2020, it was also proposed that the RPBA 2020 be amended by the insertion of a new Article 15a clarifying that the Boards of Appeal may hold oral proceedings pursuant to Article 116 EPC by videoconference. On 11 December, the Boards of Appeal Committee (BOAC) unanimously adopted the proposed new Article 15a. The text of the provision is available on the Boards of Appeal website.[ 1 ] Please refer to said website to stay updated, including on the entry into force of proposed new Article 15a RPBA 2020.
In addition, the "Annual list of cases 2021" published in accordance with Article 1(2) RPBA 2020 can be found in the website section entitled "About the Boards of Appeal". This list is not reproduced in the present publication.
Finally, please note that certain new texts, for example concerning the introduction of a consolidated list and the discontinuation of the practice of forwarding cited documents, have been included in this year's Supplementary publication (see X.4). Also newly added: VII.2, VII.3.