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Oral proceedings by videoconference before the Legal Division
(1) Oral proceedings before the Legal Division are to be held by videoconference.
(2) Notwithstanding paragraph 1, oral proceedings may be held on the premises of the European Patent Office, either at the request of a party or at the instigation of the Legal Division, if there are serious reasons against holding the oral proceedings by videoconference. If a request to hold oral proceedings on the premises of the European Patent Office is refused, the parties will be informed of the reasons; such a refusal is not separately appealable.
(3) Oral proceedings by videoconference are equivalent to oral proceedings held on the premises of the European Patent Office.
(4) The venue of the oral proceedings will be deemed to be the location where the Legal Division is set up.
Participation of parties and accompanying persons
Parties, their representatives and any persons accompanying the parties or representatives may connect to the videoconference from different locations on condition that the number of additional participants does not impair the efficient conduct of the proceedings.
Submissions and their transmission during oral proceedings by videoconference
(1) During oral proceedings by videoconference before the Legal Division, documents are to be filed by means of electronic communication in accordance with the decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 13 May 2020 concerning the filing of documents during telephone consultations and during interviews and oral proceedings held by videoconference (OJ EPO 2020, A71). Documents must be sent to the email address indicated by the Legal Division.
(2) Where there is more than one party to the proceedings before the Legal Division, documents submitted by one of the parties in accordance with paragraph 1 will be transmitted to the other parties by email to the email address specified by each of those parties during the videoconference.
If technical problems preventing the oral proceedings by videoconference from being conducted in accordance with the parties' rights under Articles 113 and 116 EPC cannot be overcome during the videoconference, the Legal Division will issue a new summons to oral proceedings.
Non-attendance at oral proceedings by videoconference
If a party fails to connect to the oral proceedings by videoconference for reasons other than technical problems, the proceedings may continue in accordance with Rule 115(2) EPC.
Entry into force
This decision enters into force on 1 July 2021. It applies to all oral proceedings before the Legal Division scheduled to take place on or after that date.
Done at Munich, 9 June 2021