Conditions of use for the EPO case management system

In accordance with the decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 4 July 2012 concerning the pilot project to introduce new technical means of communication in EPO proceedings (OJ EPO 2012, 486), and in particular its Articles 6 and 7, documents in proceedings under the EPC and under the PCT may, without prejudice to the other means of filing documents, be filed using the case management system (CMS), provided by the European Patent Office on its website, by uploading electronic files in accordance with the applicable regulations, including - where applicable - Rule 89bis PCT and Part 7 of the Administrative Instructions under the PCT, and the present conditions.

1. Persons to whom the CMS is available

The CMS is available, at the invitation of the European Patent Office and following registration, to selected users in possession of a smart card issued by the European Patent Office.

2. Documents that can be filed using this service

2.1 At present, the following documents may be filed using the CMS:

  • European patent applications,
  • international (PCT) applications and
  • requests for entry into the European phase (EPO Form 1200 and accompanying documents).

2.2 The CMS may not be used to file documents other than those referred to in point 2.1; if they are filed nonetheless, they will be deemed not to have been received. Their sender, if identifiable, will be notified without delay.

2.3 Point 2.2 also applies to priority documents, unless they have been digitally signed by the issuing authority and the signature is accepted by the EPO.

3. Technical requirements

Documents filed via the CMS must be filed in accordance with the Administrative Instructions under the PCT, Part 7 and Annex F.

4. Signature

4.1 Where filed documents require signature, this may take the form of a facsimile signature or a text string signature.

4.2 A facsimile signature is a reproduction of the filing person's signature.

4.3 A text string signature is a string of characters, preceded and followed by a forward slash (/), selected by the signatory to prove his identity and his intent to authenticate the message in question.

5. Date of filing

The date of filing accorded to a patent application filed via the CMS shall be the date on which the application documents thus transmitted were received at the European Patent Office, provided they satisfy the requirements of Article 80 EPC and Rule 40 EPC or of Article 11(1) PCT. The date of receipt accorded to subsequently filed documents shall be the date on which they were received at the European Patent Office.

6. Acknowledgment of receipt

6.1 Receipt of documents filed via the CMS is acknowledged electronically by the European Patent Office via an acknowledgment of receipt in the CMS.

6.2 Where such acknowledgment is not successfully transmitted, the European Patent Office will transmit it by other means without delay, provided it has sufficient information at its disposal.

6.3 The acknowledgment indicates the identity of the European Patent Office, the date and time of receipt, a reference or application number assigned by the European Patent Office, a list of the files transferred, and a hash value (the message digest).

6.4 Acknowledgment of receipt shall not imply the accordance of a date of filing.

7. Illegible or incomplete documents and infected files

7.1 Where a filed document is illegible or incomplete, that part of it which is illegible or incomplete will be deemed not to have been received.

7.2 If a filed document is infected with a computer virus or contains other malicious software, it will be deemed to be illegible. The European Patent Office is not obliged to open or process it.

7.3 Where a filed document is found to be deficient within the meaning of points 7.1 or 7.2, the sender, if identifiable, is notified without delay.

8. Confirmation through filing on paper

No paper documents need be filed to confirm documents filed using the CMS.

9. Other documentation

In addition to the present conditions, the provisions in the latest version of the "EPO case management system (CMS), User guide" apply.

10. Previous version

The previous version of these conditions of use for the EPO case management system dated 10.12.2012 is set aside with the publication of this version.

Raimund Lutz
Vice-President Directorate-General 5


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