Legality of video proceedings at the EPO questioned
Managing IP is part of the Delinian Group, Delinian Limited, 4 Bouverie Street, London, EC4Y 8AX, Registered in England & Wales, Company number 00954730
Copyright © Delinian Limited and its affiliated companies 2024

Accessibility | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Modern Slavery Statement

Legality of video proceedings at the EPO questioned

Sponsored by


Jakob Pade Frederiksen of Inspicos P/S assesses the legitimacy of the EPO’s adaptation of video conferencing solutions in proceedings

As of January 2021, the holding of oral proceedings by video-conference (VICO) has been mandatory in first-instance opposition proceedings, and requests for oral proceedings in person, at the premises of the EPO, are only being granted in exceptional circumstances. In regard to appeal proceedings, new Article 15a of the Rules of Procedure of the Boards of Appeal, which entered into force on April 1 2021, allows the Boards to hold oral proceedings by VICO whenever the Board considers it appropriate to do so. 

Despite the evident need for avoiding a growing backlog of cases during the COVID-19 pandemic and for guaranteeing access to justice, the move to mandatory VICO oral proceedings has been criticised by some for not being compatible with the right to oral proceedings. By decision T 1807/15 of March 12 2021, a Technical Board of Appeal of the EPO has referred the question to the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBA). This asks if oral proceedings, in the form of a VICO, is compatible with Article 116(1) EPC if not all of the parties to the proceedings have given their consent to the hearing being held by VICO.

The case before the EBA is pending as G 1/21, and the oral proceedings before the EBA are scheduled to take place – by VICO - on May 28 2021. Third parties are invited to submit amicus curiae briefs by April 28 2021. 

Meanwhile, oral proceedings before the examining and opposition divisions continue by VICO, without requiring the agreement of the parties. To the present author’s knowledge, the Boards of Appeal have not issued any statement about the consequences of parties not consenting to oral proceedings by VICO in appeal proceedings while G 1/21 is pending. One likely scenario is that in such cases oral proceedings will not take place by VICO.

Jakob Pade Frederiksen

Partner, Inspicos P/S


more from across site and ros bottom lb

More from across our site

Counsel say ‘strange’ results have increased their reliance on subscription-based search platforms, but costs are not being shifted onto clients yet
The firm was among multiple winners at a record-breaking 2024 ceremony held in London on April 11
We provide a rundown of Managing IP’s news and analysis from the week, and review what’s been happening elsewhere in IP
The Americas research cycle has commenced. Do not miss this opportunity to nominate your work!
Increased and new patent fees could affect prosecution strategies for law firms and companies, according to sources
Five former Oblon lawyers felt that joining Merchant & Gould would help them offer the right prices to entice clients
The UK may not be a UPC member but its firms are still acting in proceedings, with Carpmaels among the most prominent
Naomi Pearce of Pearce IP shares how she is helping her firm become a life sciences leader and how generous policies have helped attract top talent
The Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal filed by Ocado, in what was a key test for transparency at the new court
Each week Managing IP speaks to a different IP lawyer or professional about their life and career
Gift this article