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Guidelines for Examination

Initiation of e-mail 

Neither the examiner nor the applicant should use e-mail without having previously agreed to this, e.g. during a telephone consultation. There must be mutual agreement between the examiner and the applicant to such use. Furthermore, the mere fact that an e-mail address is indicated on a letter head does not mean that the examiner can simply use such an e-mail address for file-related topics.

If, on the other hand, an examiner receives an e-mail from an applicant concerning procedural requests or addressing any substantive issues without previous agreement, such an e-mail cannot simply be ignored but must be dealt with, ensuring that the content is put in the official file (see also T 599/06); it is recommended that such an e-mail be replied to with the clear message that e-mail is not an official means of communication and that any requests should be filed by permitted means (see A-II, 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3). See however C-VII, 2.6, and E-II, 11.3.2, for the use of e-mail during an interview or oral proceedings held as a video-conference.