EPO adopts more stringent measures to respond to intensified corona crisis

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As of today, the EPO has introduced more stringent measures in order to protect the health and safety of the EPO’s staff and users. The Office has also extended the period for which its coronavirus prevention measures will be in force to 31 May 2022:

  • Remote working and duty travel - EPO staff at all sites have been provided with the means to work remotely if possible and, apart from in exceptional circumstances, all staff who can telework are now doing so. The Office remains fully at the service of users and will ensure that the EPO’s technical infrastructure remains fully functional. Furthermore, all EPO duty travel remains cancelled until further notice. This includes any travel between EPO sites.
  • Visiting EPO premises - The EPO requests external partners to abstain from visiting the EPO. Visitors may only be present at EPO buildings on an exceptional basis and must:
    • have tested negatively using a COVID-19 self-test no longer than 24 hours (or 48 hours for a PCR test) before coming to the premises, even if recovered within the last six months or fully vaccinated. Alternatively, where this is not possible, you can self-test in dedicated areas on the EPO’s office premises. Please ask for advice at one of our receptions.
    • wear a mask over your nose and mouth in the EPO buildings and keep the recommended minimum distance of 1.5 meters. Masks should meet the following criteria: non-medical three-layer mask, surgical mask or particulate filter mask (FFP2 or mask certified according to KN95 / N95). Please wash or disinfect your hands before applying the mask.
    Further information on access to EPO buildings can be found here.
  • Oral proceedings before EPO examining and opposition divisions - Oral proceedings before examining and opposition divisions will in principle continue to take place. The pilot project for oral proceedings in opposition by videoconference (VICO) has been extended to 31 May 2022. Where there are serious reasons preventing the use of VICO in opposition, oral proceedings will be postponed until after that date. The announcement on the extension of the pilot can be found here.
  • Oral proceedings before the BoA - In the light of recent developments in the coronavirus pandemic, the Boards of Appeal have issued their own guidance. Further information can be found here.
  • Events - All in-person events organised by the EPO remain cancelled. All EPO events scheduled up until at least 31 May 2022 will take place online, unless indicated otherwise. For further details, please consult our upcoming online events.
  • Support and further information for users - During this exceptionally challenging time, maintaining high-quality services and open dialogue with our users remains a top priority. Our customer services helpdesk remains fully operational and available to answer your questions on any aspect of the EPO and our operations. Please feel free to contact us by email at support@epo.org, via the website contact form or by phone. Please note that customer services are available by phone from Monday to Friday between 08.00 and 18.00 hrs CET.

We understand that some of these measures may cause disruption to our users and we apologise for any inconvenience caused. We are continuously monitoring the situation to see if and when we can take steps towards a gradual and cautious re-opening of our premises. We will therefore continue to provide updates as necessary. Further details on all the EPO’s measures related to coronavirus can be found here.

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