4.
External complaints

External complaints can concern any service or product delivered by the EPO and can be submitted by any person, including parties to proceedings before the EPO (for enquiries as to the processing of files, see E-VIII, 7). Complaints can be submitted using the online form available at www.epo.org/complaint.

Complaints are forwarded to a dedicated EPO department responsible for

(i)
ensuring that the complaint is dealt with fairly and efficiently and that suitable measures are taken to address it; and
(ii)
providing a comprehensive reply to the complaint.

The complaint handling procedure does not replace the procedures laid down by the EPC; nor does the department responsible for handling complaints take decisions on procedural requests. Hence, the relevant department competent for the respective proceedings decides on:

(a)
complaints relating to procedural and/or substantive aspects of specific pending proceedings which are submitted by a party to those proceedings. All parties to the proceedings will be informed accordingly.
(b)
complaints relating to substantive issues which are submitted by a third party while proceedings are pending before the EPO. Such a submission will be treated as a third-party observation (see E-VI, 3.).

The department responsible for handling complaints promptly forwards any complaint relating to appeal proceedings to the EPO Boards of Appeal Unit.

Complaints having a substantive and/or procedural bearing on proceedings before the EPO, as well as replies thereto by the department responsible for handling complaints, will only exceptionally be excluded from public file inspection (see D-II, 4.3; Decision of the President of the EPO concerning documents excluded from file inspection, OJ EPO 2007, Special edition No. 3, J.3).

 

 

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