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Guidelines for Examination


3.3 Form of signature

A rubber stamp impression of a party's name, whether a natural or legal person, must be accompanied by a personal signature. Initials or other abbreviated forms will not be accepted as a signature. Where the party concerned is a legal person, a document may in general be signed by any person who purports to sign on behalf of that legal person. The entitlement of a person signing on behalf of a legal person is not checked by the EPO, except where there is reason to believe that the person signing is not authorised and in that case evidence of authority to sign should be called for.

Where a document is filed by fax, the reproduction on the facsimile of the signature of the person filing the document will be considered sufficient. The name and position of that person must be clear from the signature (see Decision of the President of the EPO dated 12 July 2007, Special edition No. 3, OJ EPO 2007, A.3).

In the case of electronic filing of documents using the EPO Online Filing software, the signature may take the form of a facsimile signature, a text-string signature or an enhanced electronic signature (see Art. 7 and, for appeal proceedings, also Art. 8(2) of the Decision of the President of the EPO dated 26 February 2009, OJ EPO 2009, 182). Where documents are filed using the EPO case management system (CMS) or the EPO web-form filing service, the signature may take the form of a facsimile signature or a text-string signature (see OJ EPO 2014, A97 and A98).