If a party to oral proceedings considers the minutes thereof not to fulfil the requirements of Rule 124, it may file a request to that effect, with a proposed correction, as soon as possible after receipt of the minutes in question.
The examining/opposition division is competent to decide upon the request (T 1198/97, T 68/02 and T 231/99). In response to a request for correction the division will either issue corrected minutes of the oral proceedings or despatch a communication stating that the minutes already contain the essentials of the oral proceedings and the relevant statements of the parties and give reasoning thereto (see T 819/96). The communication from the division cannot on its own be subject to an appeal. If the request for correction is filed within the period for filing the grounds for appeal, the division will make every effort to deal with it promptly to the extent possible so that the party can refer to the communication in the appeal.
It is at the discretion of the writer of the minutes (and of the chair who authenticates them) to decide what is considered essential and relevant in the meaning of Rule 124(1) (T 212/97). The minutes are corrected when they show deficiencies with regard to the aspects mentioned, for example if essential submissions or similarly important procedural statements are missing, or if they are incorrectly reflected in the minutes (T 231/99, T 642/97 and T 819/96).
11.Oral proceedings held by videoconference – technical aspects
11.1Equipment and technology
Videoconferences will be conducted using IP technology: detailed information on the technology and tools used by the EPO and on the minimum technical requirements is available on the EPO website and will be communicated to the parties; such information may be updated from time to time.
11.1.1Videoconference rooms at the EPO
Rooms equipped for videoconferences are available at all locations. Where necessary, the formalities officer will take care of the room reservation.
The EPO videoconference studios are for internal use only and therefore not available for applicants' or representatives' own use. In particular, any requests from parties wishing to use the EPO videoconference facilities to attend proceedings at other EPO premises (e.g. when the applicant is in Munich and the proceedings are to be held in The Hague) are refused with reference to OJ EPO 2020, A122, point 23.
For oral proceedings, the videoconference rooms will be reserved for at least half a day.
A document camera can be made available in each videoconference room. With this device a live image of a paper document can be transmitted to the parties. It is, however, preferable to share documents via email.
11.2Preparations for the videoconference
In addition to the summons, participants will receive an email confirming the date, time and the videoconference contact details to be used to establish the connection (in the form of a link or by other suitable means) and containing any further appropriate information, including on the organisation of the videoconference.
Participants are responsible and bear the costs for their own connection to the internet and any technical facilities at their end. They must ensure that their videoconferencing equipment meets the technical requirements specified in the communication containing the technical instructions. Participants are encouraged to perform a test call well before the oral proceedings take place.
Further information on the technology, procedure and etiquette for conducting oral proceedings by videoconference is available on the EPO website.
Where technical problems occur such that the oral proceedings held by videoconference cannot be conducted openly and fairly, for example due to a total or partial breakdown in communication, the right to be heard might possibly be violated (Art. 113(1)). The parties, due to the technical problems, might be taken by surprise by the grounds mentioned in an adverse decision on which they have not had an opportunity to comment. In such cases, the videoconference is terminated and new summons to oral proceedings are issued. The EPO will not attempt to re-establish the line in case of technical problems, but the applicant may be contacted by phone and asked to do so.
As a rule, new oral proceedings will be held by videoconference unless there are serious reasons for not doing so (OJ 2020, A122, point 22).
The recording of oral proceedings by the parties is not permitted (see E‑III, 10.1). At the beginning of the videoconference the chair therefore reminds all participants that recording of the videoconference is prohibited.
OJ 2020, A134, Art. 4