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Guidelines for Examination


2.6.2 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.