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Guide for applicants, Part 1: How to get a European patent

 
 
Representation
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If you have your residence or principal place of business in a contracting state, you may act on your own behalf in proceedings before the EPO (but see point 3).
If you have neither a residence nor your principal place of business in a contracting state, you must appoint a representative and act through him in all proceedings before the EPO other than in filing your European patent application and paying the fees. 
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Representation before the EPO may be undertaken only by professional representatives who are on a list maintained by the EPO, or by legal practitioners entitled to act before the EPO. You will find a searchable online database of professional representatives on the EPO website (www.epo.org).
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As a rule, professional representatives who identify themselves as such do not need to file an authorisation, unless required under special circumstances. 
Special edition No. 3, OJ 2007, L.1
Representatives may be authorised either by individual authorisation or by general authorisation. The relevant forms, to which amendments are permitted can be downloaded free of charge from the EPO website (www.epo.org).
General authorisations are registered at the EPO. These are a practical option for all concerned. 
OJ 1985, 42
OJ 1986, 327
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If an authorisation is required but not filed within the period specified by the EPO, any actions taken by the representative other than the filing of the European patent application and the payment of fees are deemed not to have been taken. 
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If several representatives are appointed, they may act either jointly or singly before the EPO, regardless of any provisions to the contrary in the notification of their appointment or in the authorisation. With multiple representatives it is also advisable to give the particulars of only one of them in the request for grant, appending "et al." to his name. 
OJ 2013, 535
You may also appoint an association of representatives within the meaning of Rule 152(11) EPC. An association of representatives consists only of professional representatives in private practice or employed in a company. In such a case each representative practising in this association is deemed to be authorised.
OJ 2013, 535
In caseIf you appoint an association is authorized, all communications will be notified to the registered address of the association or to the address for correspondence mentionedindicated in the request for grant form (see point 48).
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If you have your residence or principal place of business in a contracting state, you may also be represented by an employee, who need not be a professional representative. 
An employee who is representing his employer and who is not a professional representative must have an individual or general authorisation (see point 60).
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If an application is filed by more than one person, the request for grant should designate one of them or a professional representative as the common representative. Otherwise, the applicant named first in the request for grant is deemed to be the common representative. However, if one of the applicants is obliged to appoint a professional representative, the latter is deemed to be the common representative unless the applicant named first in the request for grant has appointed a professional representative. 
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The particulars of the representative's name and business address given in the request for grant are recorded in the Register of European Patents, published in the European Patent Bulletin and printed in the published European patent application and patent. 
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Notifications sent by the EPO (communications, notices, decisions and summonses) are addressed: 
(a) 
to the representative recorded in the Register of European Patents; or 
(b) 
to you as applicant if you do not appoint a representative, and also if an employee is acting on your behalf. 
If you have several addresses and you wish notifications in proceedings before the EPO to be sent to one address and to have a different address used for publications, the European Patent Register and the patent certificate, you can indicate an address for correspondence in the request for grant (see point 48), section 9, “Address for correspondence". The address for correspondence must be located in an EPC contracting state. Post cannot be sent to a different (natural or legal ) person, since that requires a valid form of representation under Articles 133 and 134. Therefore, if you are acting through an employee (Art. 133(3)), the address for correspondence still has to be one of your own addresses. To facilitate postal delivery or internal distribution of mail, the address may include a sub-division within a firm, provided it is not a separate legal person.
If your business operates from different locations (i.e. comprises structural sub-divisions with no separate legal personality) and you wish notifications in proceedings before the EPO to be addressed to the department dealing with the application and to have a different address, e.g. your company's head office, used for publications and the Register of European Patents, you must indicate this separately in the request for grant (see point 48), section 9, "Address for correspondence".