Online Participation in Oral Proceedings Will be Possible as of October 1, 2021
The JPO announced on September 1, 2021 that, as a result of revision of laws effective as of October 1, 2021 (Law No. 42 of May 21, 2021), online participation in oral proceedings for trials at the JPO would be allowed. Accordingly, at the discretion of the presiding administrative judge of each trial, interested parties will be permitted to take part in oral proceedings online.
The introduction of online participation in oral proceedings is made in response to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, and is in line with societal trends towards increasing use of digital technologies that enable teleworking and remote communication. Only those participants who are allowed to participate in physical oral proceedings will be allowed to participate online. Examples include parties/interveners who wish to participate online and have obtained permission of the presiding administrative judge, and parties/interveners whose online participation the presiding administrative judge has concluded is necessary as a measure against infectious diseases.
While all parties/interveners in a trial at the JPO can participate online, it is also possible that some parties/interveners attend in person whereas others participate online. It is further possible for each of the parties/interveners to participate online from different locations, such as the agent’s firm, an applicant’s conference room, or even an individual’s home.
While oral proceedings are open to the public, the JPO has not reached a decision as to how such a principle should be applied to the online oral proceedings. The JPO states that they will continue to review this possibility based on feedback from users.
For more details, please refer to a press release from the METI at <https://www.meti.go.jp/english/press/2021/0302_002.html>.
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