Originally published in OJ EPO 2020, A103:
Notice of the President of the Boards of Appeal dated 1 August 2020 concerning oral proceedings before the Boards of Appeal on the premises in Haar and in the Isar building in Munich during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
Oral proceedings on the premises in Haar and in the Isar building in Munich, and staggered starting times
1. Owing to the need for physical distancing as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, only a limited number of suitable rooms are available on the Boards of Appeal premises in Haar and therefore some oral proceedings may have to be held in the Isar building in Munich instead. Similarly, some oral proceedings which have already been scheduled to take place on the Haar premises will be moved to the Isar building.
2. In addition, if necessary to ensure that the rules on minimum physical distancing can be respected, the starting times of oral proceedings may be staggered (9.00, 9.30, 10.00 hrs, etc.).
3. As a general rule, parties will not be sent a communication informing them of a change of venue or starting time. As such changes may take place at short notice, it is up to the parties to consult the online calendar (www.epo.org/applying/online-services/proceedings/calendar.html) approximately three days before their oral proceedings to check whether they will take place on the Haar premises or in the Isar building and when exactly they are scheduled to start.
Restricted attendance: two persons per party
4. Owing again to the need for physical distancing, parties are asked to consider whether all representatives and accompanying persons need to attend. Attendance is generally restricted to a maximum of two people per party. Parties wishing to attend with more than two people should submit a reasoned request to that effect in advance of the oral proceedings. It will be for the board to decide on their request.
Access to the buildings
5. Parties and representatives wishing to enter the buildings must complete a self-declaration form, which they should do in advance of their arrival. For the third statement in the form, please refer to the regularly updated list of risk areas on the Robert Koch-Institut (RKI) website. Any person not confirming one of the statements will be denied access to both the Haar premises and the Isar building. The competent board will be informed accordingly and will then decide whether the oral proceedings can be held without that person or whether they will need to be postponed.
Members of the public
6. It is possible for members of the public to attend oral proceedings. However, in view of the current circumstances, only limited places are available. Those interested in attending oral proceedings are therefore encouraged to announce this well in advance by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. They will be required to complete the same self-declaration form as parties and representatives and will likewise be denied access to the buildings if they do not confirm one of the statements. For the third statement in the form, please refer to the regularly updated list of risk areas on the Robert Koch-Institut (RKI) website.
7. Strict hygiene measures are in place to ensure that oral proceedings are held in optimum conditions. These measures include, in particular, rules on minimum physical distancing and the requirement to wear a face mask on the way to the oral proceedings room. Boards may also require the use of face masks inside the oral proceedings room. Parties, representatives and other visitors are required to bring their own face masks.
8. The President of the Boards of Appeal will continue to monitor developments in the COVID-19 situation and take any appropriate measures in response.
9. Given that this situation continues to evolve rapidly, all parties to scheduled oral proceedings are advised to check the web section of the Boards of Appeal regularly for updated information.
President of the Boards of Appeal
Date retrieved: 19 May 2021