The videoconference will automatically start when the applicant dials in. If the videoconference does not start at the arranged time, the examining division contacts the representative or his office by telephone. If the representative cannot be contacted, or if the connection is not established for technical reasons, the videoconference is terminated and a new summons is issued for conventional oral proceedings.
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 applicant, due to the technical problems, might be taken by surprise by the grounds mentioned in an adverse decision on which he has not had an opportunity to comment. In such cases it is advisable to terminate the videoconference and to issue new summons for conventional oral proceedings. 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.
Under these circumstances, it is at the discretion of the examining division to decide whether the new summons would be for a further videoconference or for conventional oral proceedings.
Date retrieved: 30 December 2018