Are mandatory oral proceedings by ViCo in conflict with the European Patent Convention?

Without any doubt, the EPO (European Patent Office) showed great initiative when, in May 2020, they introduced their pilot project for conducting oral proceedings in opposition proceedings by videoconference (ViCo). Recently, the EPO decided to extend this pilot project until 31 January 2022; only proceedings in which there are serious reasons for not using ViCo will be postponed till after that date.

Today, oral proceedings in the pending case G 1/21 will be held, in which the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBA) must determine if oral proceedings by ViCo may be held without the consents of the relevant parties, and whether this goes against Article 116(1) EPC.

The question that now remains is if the EPO have introduced and now extended a project that is not in accordance with the convention.

Stay tuned for further updates on the G 1/21 case in which today´s oral proceedings are of course held by ViCo…