22 November 2022
As the pilot project for oral proceedings in opposition by video conference (VICO) draws to a close, the EPO President has carefully evaluated its conclusions as well as the feedback from the numerous stakeholders. As the reaction of most users to the pilot has been positive, the President has decided that VICOs should become the default format of oral proceedings in opposition from 1 January 2023. Only under certain circumstances, and when the opposition division permits it, will oral proceedings in opposition be conducted in person.
President António Campinos said:
"The pandemic has been a catalyst for change affecting many aspects of our patent granting process. Applicants and their representatives have already found that the widespread adoption of videoconferencing is permanently changing the way they do business. Most have welcomed the way in which we have embraced new technologies and the opportunities they provide to save time and money, and reduce carbon emissions, while still allowing them to argue their case effectively. The pilot has taught us all many valuable lessons and allowed us to test various ways of working. After more than two and a half years it is right that we now provide clarity and adopt VICOs as the standard format."
The decision of the President is made known on the EPO website today and will be published in the Official Journal at the end of this month.