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T 3000/19 - Use of video retrieved from the internet as prior-art

The grounds for refusal of the decision under appeal are based on lack of inventive step when taking as starting point documents D4 and D5. The prior-art evidence cited by the examining division as "document D4" refers to a video titled "Mac OS X Leopard Overview : Mac OS X Leopard Dictionary", retrieved from the YouTube website and, at the same time, a document including a screenshot of a web browser visiting that YouTube website. The video of D4 was cited for the first time in the examining division's communication of 24 January 2018, which provided the URL for accessing the video on the internet. The document with the screenshot also shows YouTube information about the video, including the publication date of 9 July 2008 used by the examining division. It does not show any other information relevant to the case. The Board discussed Internet disclosure as prior-art evidence, Use of electronic evidence in proceedings and Use of online video evidence in the EPO. The Board considered the procedure in accordance with the Guidelines for Examination, B-X, 11.6 to be insufficient for preserving video evidence and guaranteeing its accessibility over time as needed for EPO proceedings or for further judicial proceedings before the boards of appeal of the EPO or national courts (Article 131(1) EPC). The Board concluded to be not in a position to make its own assessment of the relevant evidence in its original presentation in an objective and independent manner. In view of this, the Board concludes that the decision under appeal is not sufficiently reasoned and violates Rule 111(2) EPC. This constitutes a substantial procedural violation. The measures recommended by the Guidelines for Examination of November 2018, B-X, 11.6, which were followed by the examining division, did not adequately preserve the relevant electronic evidence to guarantee accessibility over time.