Videoconferencing at EPO to continue until May 2022

Oral proceedings by ViCo are to continue at the European Patent Office until 31 May 2022 due to worsening COVID conditions in Europe.

The decision of EPO President António Campinos was announced today on the EPO website.

CIPA President Alicia Instone said: “We welcome this eminently sensible decision by the President. The EPO says it is ‘committed to improving the tools used for conducting oral proceedings by VICO’. As we have done throughout the pandemic, we will support the EPO in this aim and will continue to do all we can to further improve the ViCo experience for users.”

Earlier this summer, the EPO published a detailed report on the significant progress made since the pilot’s launch, not only in terms its legal framework and technical infrastructure, but also in training and support for users. CIPA published a news article, The patent profession and the future of work, welcoming these new ways of working and reviewing how we had supported the EPO in achieving this cultural shift.

All evidence shows that the technology is already fit-for-purpose. We continue to stand by our statement, first made in December 2020: “It is becoming clear that videoconferencing is inevitable in the long term for all oral proceedings at the EPO. The next generation of users will expect a remote, distributed and technology-based process as a matter of course.”

Published Date: 24 November 2021

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