11 May 2021
From this autumn the EPO intends to hold oral proceedings (OPs) in examination by Zoom. This follows the positive experience gained in recent months from opposition OPs held via Zoom (over 1400 so far in 2021). As part of the overall modernisation of its communications infrastructure the EPO plans to transition away from Skype for Business by the end of this year.
Testing of Zoom for OPs in examination has already started through ad hoc conversion of OPs by Skype for Business with the agreement of the applicant and/or representative. In the coming weeks users may notice that summonses to examination OPs scheduled for the autumn no longer specify the videoconference (VICO) platform to be used - this will be clarified closer to the date of the OP.
The EPO website already features updated Frequently Asked Questions on this topic. The European Patent Academy provides extensive training materials in relation to OPs by VICO. These include e.g. a dedicated video on using Zoom and a recording of the course on "advocating online before the EPO". More training courses hosted on the Academy's e-learning centre, and directed towards OPs by Zoom, will be advertised shortly.