Applicants can request for EPO examiner interviews and examining division oral proceedings to proceed via video-conference. Video-conferencing is not available for EPO opposition division and board of appeal oral proceedings.

How do applicants obtain video-conference interviews or oral proceedings?

It is necessary to make a request to the examiner for a video-conference interview and to the examining division for a video-conference oral proceedings. The EPO has a limited number of video-conference suites, and they are also used for internal meetings. Therefore, to increase the likelihood that a request for video-conference will be allowed, the request should be made as early as possible.

A request for video-conference oral proceedings might be made as a precautionary request early in examination proceedings. More typically, however, it might be in the form of a request to change conventional in-person oral proceedings to video-conference oral proceedings.

Submission of documents during a video-conference

Documents can be filed during a video-conference by email.

What happens if the request for a video-conference is refused?

Allowance of the request is entirely at the examiner’s or the examining division’s discretion. There is no possibility to appeal a refusal of a request for a video-conference.

What cases are suitable for a video-conference?

Technical limitations mean that video-conferences are most suitable for cases in which there are few issues to discuss and those issues are well-defined.  However, this is often the situation in relation to examiner interviews and examining division oral proceedings.

Multi-way video-conference

A multi-way video-conference can be requested.  This can allow a client, applicant or inventor distant from the EPO to participate more easily in the interview or oral proceedings.  Indeed, the examiner or examining division may agree to start the video-conference at a time which facilitates participation from different time zones.  If you want the video-conference to be multi-way, please tell us as early as possible.

This information is simplified and must not be taken as a definitive statement of the law or practice.