On October 28, 2021, the Enlarged Board of Appeals released the full text of the Decision G1/21 that concerns the admissibility of oral proceedings via video conference against the expressed will of the parties.
The European Patent Office has, starting with the travel restrictions after the outbreak of the corona virus in Europe, initiated a pilot program to hold oral proceedings in examination and opposition proceedings as video conference. Moreover, the rules of procedure of the Board of Appeals were amended and allow to hold oral proceedings in Appeal proceedings via video conference at the discretion of the deciding Board of Appeal. Thus, the rights of the parties of the proceedings were restricted. Shortly after the implementation of the new rules, the legality of the new rules was questioned by a referral to the Enlarged Board of Appeals, the highest instance at the European Patent Office.