22 October 2020
As part of continued efforts to consult, inform and engage its users, the EPO recently hosted a videoconference with the Standing Advisory Committee (SACEPO) Working Party on Rules. The meeting focussed on the success of oral proceedings by VICO and progress with the SP2023 Convergence of Practice programme.
User representatives were informed that more than 1 200 oral proceedings have been held by VICO so far this year, and that many users have by now had the opportunity to test and discover the advantages of oral proceedings by VICO – such as reduced costs, air travel and risk of infection, as well as the level playing field VICOs create for practitioners irrespective of their location. Suggestions relating to virtual “break-out rooms” and a shared base for document exchange during oral proceedings were discussed, as well as issues relating to recordings. SACEPO members were also invited to provide feedback on a proposal to amend EPC rules to address certain specific aspects of the taking of evidence by VICO.
On the topic of convergence of practice, epi, BusinessEurope and other SACEPO members expressed support for the discontinuation of the notification of the inventor and of a limitation of the inventor’s data published in the Register. SACEPO members were also informed that the EPO will now proceed with a proposal to adapt the legal framework concerning the latter by proposing amendments to the EPC rules.
The next SACEPO meeting will take place on 27 October and will be dedicated to discussing comments and suggestions from members of the SACEPO Working Party on Guidelines to the first draft of the revised EPC Guidelines 2021.