Coronavirus (COVID-19) - continually updated information

Information for customers, external partners and potential visitors to the EPO

Last updated 7 September 2022

EPO President António Campinos

In view of the present situation with coronavirus (COVID-19) the European Patent Office (EPO) is adopting the following preventive measures.

We understand this may cause some business disruption and apologise for any inconvenience caused. We are continuously monitoring the situation and will provide updates as necessary.

Coronavirus: message to our users

To all our users,

Since the outbreak of coronavirus our Office has taken measures to ensure the health of our staff and continue to fulfil our mission to our users. Now more than ever, Europe needs a Patent Office that can support innovation in making our world safer, smarter and more sustainable - something which I talk about in the video above.

We are going to support you, our users, in getting through whatever trials you face in the patent system, and whatever the obstacles ahead. We will do so by continuing to search for new, easier ways to interact. We will adapt to your needs as they evolve. We will give you predictability, quality and timeliness, by making sure we deliver all the other goals in our strategic plan.

We understand that you may have questions or concerns about your patent applications or any of the other services we offer. Our staff are on hand to help and answer any queries you may have, via the contact form or by phone. You can also find regular updates on the ongoing measures we're taking, and any effects on our services, on this webpage. Its contents will be updated continuously to give you instant access to the latest information.

Above all, take care of yourselves, and I wish you and your loved ones good health

António Campinos

Oral proceedings before the EPO’s examining and opposition divisions

Following two years of positive experience and steady progress in the large-scale implementation of videoconference (VICO) for oral proceedings, the President of the EPO has decided to further extend the pilot project for oral proceedings in opposition by VICO until 31 December 2022. The extension reflects the EPO's continuing concern for the health and safety of staff and visitors on site in the light of the ongoing pandemic and provides an opportunity to release additional tools and procedures in relation to VICO. Where there are serious reasons preventing the use of VICO for oral proceedings in opposition, the proceedings will be postponed until after 31 December 2022.

Oral proceedings in examination will continue to be held by VICO as set out in the decision of the President of the EPO dated 17 December 2020 concerning oral proceedings by videoconference before examining divisions. Where there are serious reasons preventing the use of VICO for oral proceedings in examination, the proceedings will similarly be postponed until after 31 December 2022.

Since January 2021, under amended Rules 117 and 118 EPC, the EPO's examining and opposition divisions may take evidence by videoconference. For further details see the notice from the European Patent Office dated 17 December 2020 concerning the taking of evidence by videoconference by examining and opposition divisions.

To help attorneys better present their case in oral proceedings by VICO, additional features have been implemented in Zoom. These include digital whiteboards for use by attorneys to sketch diagrams - like on a traditional flipchart - to support their arguments. Additional audio channels will also be made available if requested in advance by the parties concerned to facilitate interpretation into admissible non-EPO languages. To further enhance the user experience, digital deliberation or breakout rooms allow parties to confer in private.

The EPO offers a wide range of training opportunities in the form of online courses and e-learning modules to help patent professionals familiarise themselves with the conduct of oral proceedings by VICO.

Oral Proceedings before the Boards of Appeal

Events

All EPO organised live events scheduled up until 31 December 2022 will take place online, unless indicated otherwise.

Chronological list of updates to this page

The following is a chronological list of updates and amendments to this webpage from 11 May provided as a courtesy to readers.

In urgent situations where speed of action takes precedence, updates may initially appear in English only, even on the German and French pages. Corresponding translations will be added as they become available. The addition of translations is not included in the list below.

Updated on Time of update Reason for update
7.9.2022
18.00 hrs CET
Sections updated: Oral proceedings before the EPO’s examining and opposition divisions, Events

Sections removed: Filing and receiving priority documents and certified copies, Joint statement of the IP5 heads of office, Joint statement of EPO and JPO on response to COVID-19, Joint statement of EPO and KIPO on response to COVID-19, Joint statement of EPO and CNIPA on response to COVID-19, Remedies in case of non-observance of time limits, Using electronic filing, receiving electronic notifications and staying informed via electronic alerts, A joint message of support for inventors from the USPTO and EPO, EPO customer services, External partners / visitors, Staff working from home

22.2.2022
14.15 hrs CET
Section updated: Filing and receiving priority documents and certified copies 
7.12.2021
16.30 hrs CET
Sections updated: Oral Proceedings before the Boards of Appeal, Events, External partners / visitors
30.11.2021
09.00 hrs CET
Section updated: Oral proceedings before the EPO’s examining and opposition divisions
12.11.2021
11.30 hrs CET
Section removed: EQE
27.9.2021
17.30 hrs CET
Section updated: Events
24.9.2021
16.30 hrs CET
Section updated: Oral Proceedings before the Boards of Appeal
22.9.2021
12.00 hrs CET
Section updated: Oral Proceedings before the Boards of Appeal
22.9.2021
10.00 hrs CET
Section updated: External partners / visitors
2.8.2021
15.00 hrs CET
Section updated: Oral Proceedings before the Boards of Appeal
17.6.2021
17.00 hrs CET

Section removed: Consultation of contracting states on extensions or interruptions of periods

Section updated: Remedies in case of non-observance of time limits

20.5.2021
15.00 hrs CET
Section updated: Oral Proceedings before Examining and Opposition Divisions
26.3.2021
15.00 hrs CET
Sections updated: Oral Proceedings before Examining and Opposition Divisions and Oral Proceedings before the Boards of Appeal
22.3.2021
10.00 hrs CET
Section updated: External partners / visitors
23.12.2020
14.00 hrs CET
Section updated: Oral Proceedings before Examining and Opposition Divisions
21.12.2020
17.30 hrs CET
Section updated: Oral Proceedings before Examining and Opposition Divisions
15.12.2020
15.30 hrs CET
Section updated: Oral Proceedings before the Boards of Appeal
2.12.2020
14.30 hrs CET
Section updated: Oral Proceedings before Examining and Opposition Divisions
30.11.2020
11.30 hrs CET
Section updated: Consultation of contracting states on extensions or interruptions of periods
19.11.2020
15.00 hrs CET
Section updated: Filing and receiving priority documents and certified copies
13.11.2020
10.30 hrs CET
Section updated: Oral Proceedings before Examining and Opposition Divisions
11.11.2020
12.15 hrs CET
Section updated: Remedies in case of non-observance of time limits
10.11.2020
18.30 hrs CET
Section updated: Oral Proceedings before Examining and Opposition Divisions
2.11.2020
18.00 hrs CET
Section updated: External partners / visitors
19.10.2020
14.30 hrs CET Section updated: Oral Proceedings before the Boards of Appeal
1.10.2020
17.00 hrs CET
New section added: Filing and receiving priority documents and certified copies
18.9.2020
17.30 hrs CET
Section updated: External partners / visitors
14.9.2020
15.30 hrs CET
Section updated: Oral Proceedings before Examining and Opposition Divisions
21.8.2020
17.00 hrs CET
Sections updated: External partners / visitors, High risk areas
3.8.2020
17.00 hrs CET
Section updated: Events
30.7.2020
15:30 hrs CET
New section added: Joint statement of the IP5 heads of office
29.7.2020
13:30 hrs CET
Section updated: Oral Proceedings before Examining and Opposition Divisions
29.7.2020
13:30 hrs CET
Section updated: Oral Proceedings before the Boards of Appeal
16.7.2020
09.00 hrs CET
New section added: Joint statement of EPO and JPO on response to COVID-19
16.7.2020
09.00 hrs CET
New section added: Joint statement of EPO and KIPO on response to COVID-19
9.7.2020
14.30 hrs CET
Section updated: Oral Proceedings before Examining and Opposition Divisions
3.7.2020
11.15 hrs CET
Section updated: Oral Proceedings before Examining and Opposition Divisions
3.7.2020
09.00 hrs CET
Sections updated: External partners / visitors; High risk areas
30.6.2020
08.00 hrs CET
New section added: Joint statement of EPO and CNIPA on response to COVID-19
24.6.2020
16.40 hrs CET
Section updated: Consultation of contracting states on extensions or interruptions of periods
12.6.2020
10.00 hrs CET
Section updated: Events
10.6.2020 20.00 hrs CET New section added: Consultation of contracting states on extensions or interruptions of periods
3.6.2020
12.00 hrs CET
Section updated: Remedies in case of non-observance of time limits
3.6.2020
07.50 hrs CET
Section updated: Remedies in case of non-observance of time limits
3.6.2020
00.10 hrs CET
Section updated: Remedies in case of non-observance of time limits
27.5.2020
15.30 hrs CET
Section updated: Remedies in case of non-observance of time limits
25.5.2020
16.40 hrs CET
Section updated: Oral Proceedings before the Boards of Appeal
21.5.2020
15.00 hrs CET
Section updated: Oral Proceedings before Examining and Opposition Divisions
19.5.2020
16.00 hrs CET
Section updated: Oral Proceedings before the Boards of Appeal
19.5.2020
13.00 hrs CET
Section updated: Oral Proceedings before Examining and Opposition Divisions
19.5.2020
12.30 hrs CET
Section updated: Remedies in case of non-observance of time limits
15.5.2020
11.00 hrs CET
Section updated: Staff working from home
15.5.2020
08.00 hrs CET
Section updated: Oral Proceedings before the Boards of Appeal
14.5.2020
08.00 hrs CET
Section updated: Using electronic filing, receiving electronic notifications and staying informed via electronic alerts
13.5.2020
20.00 hrs CET Section updated: Oral Proceedings before Examining and Opposition Divisions
13.5.2020
14.30 hrs CET Section updated: Oral Proceedings before Examining and Opposition Divisions
11.5.2020 15.00 hrs CET New section added: Chronological list of updates to this page

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