The EPO has decided to postpone all in person Opposition Hearings for the rest of 2020.  Not surprising given the complexity of travelling and the risks associated with bringing people together from all over Europe and beyond.

If all participants agree for the Hearing to take place by video conference then it can go ahead.  Otherwise, it will be postponed.

This is big news for a number of reasons.

First, it is likely to push parties to video conference in complex cases where there are major advantages to being present in person.

Secondly, for cases where at least one participant disagrees, the Hearing is likely to be postponed for many months, perhaps even years.  Some parties might use this option strategically to string out a case which they're likely to lose.