Board of Appeal Moves an Oral Proceedings from Haar to Munich
We reported earlier this year (see here) that the EPO's Enlarged Board of Appeal has been asked to consider whether the Boards of Appeal can hold oral proceedings in Haar (which is a suburb of Munich) without violating the EPC. The Boards of Appeal moved from a central Munich location to Haar in 2017. This move was not universally popular, and so the outcome of the referral (which is now pending as G2/19) is awaited with interest.
In the meantime it has come to our attention that a Board of Appeal oral proceedings originally scheduled to take place in Haar has been rescheduled (see here) by the Board of Appeal in question (board 3.3.04) to take place at the former Board of Appeal headquarters in central Munich. The change in location of the oral proceedings happened following a request from one of the parties that the location of the hearing should be moved in view of G2/19.
While the Enlarged Board of Appeal referral G2/19 remains pending, it seems likely that at least board 3.3.04 will move a hearing to Munich upon the request of a party, possibly to forestall the possibility that the Haar location is found to be in conflict with the EPC, and a party claiming to be being disadvantaged later claiming the appeal hearing needs to be re-run.
The fact that the Boards of Appeal are not routinely moving hearings from Haar to Munich, absent any request from any party, points to the interesting possibility that even if the Haar location is found to be in conflict with the EPC, this may not mean all proceedings conducted in Haar are void, absent any contemporaneous complaint from a party.
UPDATE: the Enlarged Board of Appeal expedited their consideration of G2/19, and issued an oral decision on 16 July 2019. See our news item discussing their conclusions here.