As recalled in J 1/04 for instance, there is no obligation for an applicant having a principal place of business within an EPC contracting state to be represented in proceedings established by the Convention. If, however, the applicant wishes to be represented, he must authorise either an employee or a professional representative or legal practitioner.
In J 8/10 (OJ 2012, 472), which deals with a number of points relating to representation, the board observed that the main provision governing entitlement to act in EPO proceedings is Art. 134 EPC, legal practitioners' entitlement to act being regulated in particular by its paragraph 8Art. 134(8) EPC. R. 152 EPC governs the filing and effects of authorisations.
The following section looks at problems addressed by the boards arising in cases where the parties are represented in proceedings, either by choice (see previous paragraph) or by obligation (because they have no residence or principal place of business in a contracting state).
Art. 133 EPC contains the general principles governing representation with respect to proceedings under the EPC. It remains unchanged with the entry into force of the EPC 2000 (13 December 2007), save for minor editorial streamlining and changes aimed at increasing the consistency of the text of the EPC as a whole. Art. 134 EPC on representation before the EPO is likewise substantively unchanged but features some editorial amendments, in particular to take account of the deletion of Art. 163 EPC 1973, now largely superseded. The substance of the "grandfather clause" of Art. 163 EPC 1973 has in effect been integrated in Art. 134(3) EPC in simplified form as a permanent feature of the EPC designed to deal with the situation of national representatives of states acceding to the EPC in the future.
The revised Art. 134 EPC is applicable as from the entry into force of the EPC 2000.
See also the Guidelines for Examination in the EPO (June 2012 edition), A-VIII, but also Guidelines E-II, 8.5 and E-III, 1.6.1. The Guidelines refer to the decisions of the EPO President dated 12 July 2007 (OJ SE 3/2007, A.3 and L.1.) Readers can find analyses of those decisions in, for example, T 267/08, J 8/10 and T 1744/09.
On the signature of documents and the EPO President's decision dated 26 February 2009, OJ 2009, 182, see in particular the Guidelines A-VIII.