Posts Tagged: "Oral Hearings"

EPO’s Enlarged Board of Appeal Backs Videoconference Hearings

Oral proceedings before the EPO Boards of Appeal can be held by videoconference, even without the consent of the parties, during a general emergency, according to a July 16 decision by the EPO’s Enlarged Board of Appeal (G1/21). The question about videoconferencing was referred to the EBA in March by a Technical Board of Appeal in Case T-1807/15. The EPO introduced hearings by videoconference (generally held via Zoom) last year as a result of the pandemic and travel restrictions. Since January 2021, some oral proceedings have been conducted without the consent of the parties. The EBA, which comprises members of the Boards of Appeal and judges from EPC member states, was asked to rule on whether this was compatible with the right to oral proceedings as enshrined in Article 116(1) of the European Patent Convention. The EPO claims that videoconference hearings are necessary to manage the workload and ensure efficient delivery of justice during the pandemic. They also mean that parties throughout the EPC’s 38 member states can participate on equal terms, without having to travel to Munich or The Hague.

Parties Agreement to Settle Issues Does Not Extinguish Board’s Ability to Determine Patentability

However, what if the Board refuses to terminate an IPR despite a joint request by both parties based on a settlement and proceeds to a final written decision? As indicated in Section 317, a joint request for termination may not be granted if the Office has decided the merits of the proceeding before the request for termination is filed. Although the section does not specifically list or explain the criteria for determining the merits of the proceeding to a final written decision, there are cases providing us with a number of considerations… From the cases above, it can be seen that even when the Board terminates an IPR as to a petitioner, it may nevertheless proceed to a final written decision when the trial issues have been fully briefed and argued at the time the parties move to terminate an IPR. The Board may also proceed to a decision on the merits when there is a large number of existing district court cases involving the patent at issue.

Ex Parte Appeal Oral Hearings: Making Your Case Right Before Decision Time

This data set shows that Oral Hearings are rarely conducted. (See Figure 1.) Across the 72,443 appeals, only 459 (0.63%) appeals had an Oral Hearing… As shown in Figure 4, Oral Hearings were associated with more full-rejection reversals (blue bars). Specifically, the full reversals accounted for 40.3% of the appeals with Oral Hearings, as compared to 32.5% of the appeals without Oral Hearings.