Conditions of use for the web-form filing service

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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 as of 17 December 2012 using the web-form filing service, provided by the European Patent Office on its website, by uploading electronic files pursuant to the applicable regulations and the present conditions.

1. Persons to whom this service is available

The web-form filing service is available, following registration, to selected users at the invitation of the European Patent Office. To register, users must supply an e-mail address.

2. Documents that can be filed using this service

2.1. The following documents may be filed via the web-form filing service:

(a) European patent applications

(b) international (PCT) applications, and

(c) requests for entry into the European phase, and

(d) documents filed subsequently in proceedings under the PCT and under the EPC, with the exception of opposition, limitation and revocation proceedings (Articles 99 to 105c EPC) and of appeal proceedings (Articles 106 to 112a EPC).


2.2. Using the web-form filing service to file documents other than those referred to in point 2.1 is not allowed; if they are filed nonetheless, they shall be deemed not to have been received. Their sender, if identifiable, shall 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 European Patent Office.

3. Formal requirements

Documents filed via the web-form filing service may only be filed in PDF, in accordance with the Administrative Instructions under the PCT, Part 7 and Annex F, or, in the case of documents referred to in point 2.1 (a) (European patent applications), as word processing documents in Office Open XML document format (e.g. DOCX).

4. Signature

Where a document is filed via the web-form filing service, a reproduction of the filing person's signature or an indication of the filing person's name shall suffice under Rule 2(2) EPC to confirm the document's authenticity. The filing person's name and position must be clearly indicated.

5. Date of filing and date of receipt of documents

The date of filing accorded to a patent application filed via the web-form filing service shall be the date on which the application documents thus transmitted were received at the European Patent Office, provided these documents 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 web-form filing service shall be acknowledged electronically via an acknowledgment on the website once the files have been transferred; the sender may indicate that he wishes to receive such acknowledgement of receipt by e-mail in which case he shall also be informed via an e-mail sent to the address supplied by him.

6.2. The acknowledgment referred to in point 6.1 shall identify the European Patent Office and give the date and time of receipt, a reference or application number assigned by the European Patent Office, the sender's name and e-mail address and a list of the files transferred.

6.3. 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 shall 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 shall be deemed to be illegible. The European Patent Office shall not be obliged to open or process it.

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

8. Conversion and determination of the number of pages

8.1. Where a document is filed in Office Open XML document format, the EPO will convert such document into PDF format applying Rule 49 EPC. The document in converted format will be included in the electronic file, and will be used to determine the number of pages as required under Art. 2 (1), item 1a, RFees.

8.2. Where it is found that such document in converted format is not a complete and accurate copy of the document as filed in Office Open XML document format, the applicant may request to correct the document in converted format so as to bring it into conformity with the document as filed.

9. Confirmation through filing on paper

No paper documents need be filed to confirm documents filed electronically using the web-form filing service.

10. Previous version

The previous version of these conditions of use for the web-form filing service dated 10.12.2012 is set aside with the publication of this version.
 


Raimund Lutz
Vice-President

08.05.2013

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