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Video conferences not in violation of European Patent Convention

On July 16, the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBoA) of the European Patent Office (EPO) gave first indication of the content of the decision in the case G 1/21 concerning video conferencing.

On the EPO website, a press release confirms that mandatory videoconferencing “in a general emergency” does not violate Article 116 the European Patent Convention (EPC). The EBoA will publish the final decision and its full justification in at least a few weeks.

In March 2021, the German company Rohde & Schwarz had submitted to the EBoA the question of whether oral proceedings under Article 116 EPC can be replaced by a video conference without the consent of the parties. Also, several patent law firms questioned, among other things, whether holding all or part of hearings via video conference instead of in person, as the EPO has been doing since the beginning of 2020, could have a negative effect.

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