From the beginning of 2014, the EPO's Official Journal will become an electronic-only publication.
In addition to an officially certified PDF file, which the Office will publish every month in place of the paper copy, the Official Journal pages on the EPO's website will include some new features designed to make users' daily work with the Official Journal easier.
In future, all Official Journal articles will be individually available as HTML files. The HTML version will aid on-screen reading and include links to related material cited in the articles. The file size for HTML articles will also be much smaller than for the PDF version, which will speed up access times.
The HTML pages present the articles in one official language. However, the user will be able to print any article in all three official languages together, if so wished.
With the launch of the new electronic Official Journal, the standard way of referencing articles will change. No longer will the Office use a page number and year format, e.g. OJ EPO 2013, 239. Instead, each article will carry a reference number starting with "A", e.g. OJ EPO 2014, A12. These article numbers will start at A1 for the first article in the first issue of the year and continue sequentially throughout the year. At the start of a new year, a new sequence will begin and the first article will again carry the reference A1.
Inspired by the positive feedback on the recently introduced search interface for board of appeal decisions, the Official Journal interface will include similarly comprehensive search features. Users will be able to perform a full-text search within articles and within a date range. They will also be able to limit their search to certain categories of article or announcement, or use Boolean criteria for more complex searching.
At the time of launch, the search engine will only be available for the front file, i.e. for OJ issue number 1 of 2014 onwards. The available archive will, however, be rapidly expanded back in time to include all issues of the Official Journal back to 1978. Watch out for announcements on the EPO website as more and more of the back issues become available for search.
Users who do not want to miss the news in the Official Journal as it appears will have the option of using RSS feeds for categorised automated updates. The Office is also investigating an email alert service for introduction at a later stage.
The last paper edition will be the December 2013 issue, which subscribers will receive, together with the last ever annual collection on DVD, early in January 2014. After that date, all subscriptions will automatically terminate. There will be no charge for the online Official Journal.
The EPO's Official Journal is available at www.epo.org/official-journal.