How to file
You must draft applications in written form and transmit them to the EPO either in electronic form, in person, by postpostal services or by fax.
You are recommended to use the electronic filing tools.
If you choose to file your European patent applications can be filed in electronic form, you can do so online using the EPO Online Filing software, which can be obtained from the EPO free of charge (see
OJ 2007, Special edition No. 3, A.3
Alternatively, you may use the EPO new online filing (CMS) or the EPO web-form filing service, which are also provided free of charge via the EPO website (
One of the benefits of online filing is that the original quality of the documents is maintained. If you file on paper by post or especially by fax, the quality of the documents may be reduced. This may result in an invitation for you to file replacement documents of better quality. 
For applications filed online either with the EPO or with a competent national authority (see point 107), the filing fee is reduced.
On the EPO website you will find more information regarding the other online services provided by the EPO and their advantages, such as Online Fee Payment, My Files, Secure File Inspection and the Mailbox service. 
You cannot file European patent applications with the EPO by e-mail or by any other means than those described above.
OJ 2000, 458
You can also file European patent applications in electronic form with the competent national authorities of the contracting states which so permit.  
OJ 2007, Special edition No. 3, A.3
National law relating to the EPC, 17th 16th edition
You can file by fax with the EPO, and with the competent national authorities of those contracting states which so permit. For further details, see the latest version of "National law relating to the EPC" on the EPO website (
As the EPO uses an automatic scanner system to capture European patent applications for printing, you are urged to use a machine-readable typeface for your applications (see point 71).
OJ 1993, 59

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