Only oral hearings which are already confirmed to be held by videoconference or for which all participants will agree to a videoconference will take place as scheduled. An EPO pilot project  on inter partes oral proceedings via videoconference is running at the moment. According to the current legal situation, oral proceedings will not be held by videoconference against the will of one of the parties to the opposition proceedings.
In examination proceedings, however, videoconferencing is currently the default of conducting oral proceedings. Applicants must expressly request that oral proceedings  be held as a physical hearing at the EPO. Such request can be rejected without the possibility of an appeal.
The EPO will inform affected parties to the proceedings as soon as possible about the postponement. It is currently planned to resume physical oral proceedings at the EPO from 4 January 2021. However, this date may be subject to further changes.
Different rules  apply for oral proceedings before the EPO Boards of Appeal.
If you have questions about oral proceedings in times of the coronavirus pandemic, please contact us.
Dr. Stephan Jellbauer, Dipl. -Biochem., Dr. rer. nat., Patent Attorney, Partner
Weickmann & Weickmann, Patent- und Rechtsanwälte PartmbB, Munich
Tel.: +49 (89) 455630 | E-Mail: email@example.com