A Board of Appeal of the EPO decides about the necessity of second oral proceedings during examination

After first oral proceedings, the examining division was willing to grant a patent on the basis of a certain auxiliary request. The applicant, however, filed a new claim and requested second oral proceedings. The examining division did not open second oral proceedings, but rejected the application. A Board of Appeal (T 1775/12) decided on June 15, 2015 that this was a substantial procedural violation, remitted the case back to the examining division and even reimbursed the appeal fee. “If amendments are filed subsequently to first oral proceedings and further oral proceedings are requested for discussion of the procedural issue of admission of the amendments into the proceedings under Rule 137 (3) EPC, the procedural issue of admission has to be considered as a change in the subject of the proceedings within the meaning of Article 116 (1), second sentence, EPC, requiring the appointment of second oral proceedings.”