EBoA’s videoconference decision keeps us guessing


Douglas Drysdale and Ellie Purnell

EBoA’s videoconference decision keeps us guessing

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The European Patent Office Enlarged Board of Appeal did not say whether it would enforce video hearings outside of emergencies, say Douglas Drysdale and Ellie Purnell of HGF.

Case G1/21 has gathered significant interest from the patent attorney community because it relates to the issue of whether holding oral proceedings via videoconference is compatible with the key concept of the right to be heard under A.113 European Patent Convention (EPC), even if one or more parties to the proceedings have not given their consent.

The rise of oral proceedings via videoconference during the pandemic has led to all examination, opposition and appeal hearings before the European Patent Office (EPO) being heard using Skype or Zoom, a format which some believe may be disadvantageous.

The present referral comes from a case (T1807/15) before the Board of Appeal with this exact situation, in which a party disagreed with the use of videoconference for the oral proceedings.

EPO, Enlarged Board of Appeal, HGF, videoconferencing, patent attorneys, Skype, Zoom, oral proceedings, EPC