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; A‑II, 1.2 and A‑II, 1.3). See however C‑VII, 2.6, and E‑III, 11.3.2, for the use of e-mail during an interview or oral proceedings held as a video-conference.