Notice of the President of the Boards of Appeal dated 1 May 2022 on informing the parties of submissions made by other parties to the proceedings and by third parties
In all inter partes appeal proceedings, the Boards of Appeal will adapt their practice of informing the parties of submissions and documents which are filed by a party to the proceedings or by a third party.
1. Party submissions, in particular the notice of appeal, the statement of grounds of appeal and the reply to the statement of grounds, will continue to be communicated to the other parties. However, copies of all documents attached to party submissions, including patent and non-patent literature cited in party submissions as well as documents containing amendments, such as an amended set of claims, are no longer to be forwarded automatically.
All these documents contained in the electronic file can be downloaded from the European Patent Register. They will be provided to the parties free of charge in paper form upon request only.
The Boards of Appeal's practice of informing the other parties of the filing of items or documents which are not available for inspection in the electronic files of the European Patent Register (e.g. non-scannable objects, non-public documents) or are not easily legible (e.g. documents filed in colour) is retained.
If oral proceedings are to take place, parties are advised to check the electronic file via the European Patent Register in advance of the hearing to ensure that they are in possession of all relevant documents.
2. Similarly, this practice will also be extended to third-party observations. The Boards of Appeal will continue to communicate such observations filed during pending proceedings to all parties. However, the documents annexed to third-party observations will not be forwarded automatically. They can be downloaded from the European Patent Register.
3. This change in practice applies to submissions filed on or after 1 June 2022. The present notice supersedes point 2 of the notice published in OJ EPO 2020, A131.
President of the Boards of Appeal