Videoconference Oral Proceedings for EPO Oppositions – an Update

The EPO has announced changes to the Pilot Project for Video Conference (ViCo) Oral Proceedings before Opposition Divisions. A detailed look at the changes and their implications can be found here.

The headlines are:

  1. That the postponement of in-person opposition hearings (currently until 31 December 2020) be further extended to 15 September 2021 along with extension of the pilot project to the same date;
  2. That the consent of all parties for holding an opposition by ViCo will no longer be necessary with effect from 4 January 2021, for the duration of the pilot project.

In short, opposition oral proceedings until at least 15 September 2021, and possibly beyond, will be ViCo by default. It is also clear from the Decision of the President, dated 10 November 2020, that “serious reasons” will be required to justify opposition oral proceedings on the premises of the EPO.

This announcement does not affect oral proceedings before the Boards of Appeal, which remain available “if the parties concerned agree”.