The President of the European Patent Office, having regard to Article 119 and Rule 127 EPC and to Articles 17(2) and 18(2) and Rule 44 PCT, has decided as follows:
(1) On 15 December 2011 the European Patent Office (EPO) will start phasing in notification by technical means of communication (electronic notification).
(2) In an initial phase the following documents will be notified electronically:
(a) the extended European search report pursuant to Rule 62 EPC - i.e. the European or partial European search report (Article 92 and Rules 61 and 63 EPC) plus the European search opinion - or the declaration of no search (Rule 63 EPC),
(b) the international search report (Article 18 PCT), together with the written opinion under Rule 43bis PCT.
(3) With an initial user group prepared to assist with procedural and technical testing, the EPO plans gradually to expand electronic notification to include all other pre-grant communications.
Notification to the Mailbox
Professional representatives (Article 134(1) EPC) holding an EPO smart card  and who have activated the Mailbox  may inform the EPO  that they wish to take part in the start-up phase under Article 1.
Notification is by electronic communication to the professional representative's Mailbox. The electronic communication contains a link to the notified document, in the electronic dossier in an EPO database.
(1) Electronic notification is effected by electronic communication to the professional representative's Mailbox.
(2) Notification is deemed to have been effected at the latest on the tenth day after transmission of the electronic communication to the Mailbox, unless the communication arrives later or not at all.
In case of electronic notification, no paper copies will be notified in parallel.
Previous decisions and notices superseded
Point 6 of the notice from the European Patent Office dated 9 December 2003 concerning the My.epoline® portal (OJ EPO 2004, 61) is set aside.
Entry into force
This decision enters into force on 15 December 2011.
Done at Munich, 13 December 2011
 To apply for a smart card, visit the EPO website http://www.epo.org/applying/online-services/security/start.html.