The Mailbox is a single point of delivery for electronic communications from the EPO. It is a company-based service, which means that items sent to a company's Mailbox are not delivered direct to individuals within the company. Anyone in the company who has a smart card can access the Mailbox.
A Mailbox is created when a new user enrols for a smart card. The Mailbox is associated with the company name indicated by the user on the smart card enrolment form. It belongs to the company and not the person.
The Mailbox provides you with access to an inbox where you can receive mail items with links to PDF versions of communications from the EPO. The mail items are sent to professional representatives registered with the EPO or to what are known as associations of representatives.
To use the Mailbox, you need a smart card. Your company administrator must then give you access to the Mailbox, and one or more associates must be defined and approved by the EPO. These associates must then be activated as mail recipients by the administrator. The sequence of events is as follows:
The company administrator is the user responsible for defining user access to Online Fee Payment, the Mailbox and My Files. The company administrator can assign administrator rights to other smart card holders within your company, or revoke them.
If a company does not have an administrator, any smart card holder in that company who logs in to the portal will be invited to become the administrator. This invitation will continue to appear until one of the smart card holders accepts it.
Anyone who has a smart card (i.e. a user) and who has been given access by their company administrator can access the company Mailbox and read all communications. Associates (i.e. professional representatives) can "receive" communications. That is, communications addressed to them are sent via the Mailbox.
No, you cannot forward items from the Mailbox. If you wish to forward an item, you must download it to your own computer and send it as an attachment using your own mail system, or put it on a shared drive.
No, you cannot reply to the EPO via the Mailbox. The current version of the Mailbox allows only one-way communication, from the EPO to the user.
Regardless of whether a mail item has been opened or not, a mail item sent to the Mailbox is deemed to have been notified on the tenth day after transmission of the electronic communication to the Mailbox, unless the communication arrives later or not at all. See Decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 13 December 2011:
The list of communications currently made available via the Mailbox is published on the EPO website:
These communications will continue to be sent by post until further notice.
Each Mailbox is defined by its company name. If your company has several legal entities within the same country or in different countries, you can have more than one Mailbox by indicating different company names on individual smart card enrolment forms, e.g. "EPO The Hague", "EPO Munich", "EPO Berlin" and "EPO Vienna".
No. Once your administrator has activated your company Mailbox and authorised your access to it, you will be sent electronic communications instead of paper ones. If an item of mail is sent electronically, it is not also sent by post.
The administrator can choose to set the trash to be emptied once a day, once a week, once every four weeks or once every twelve weeks. Thus, depending on the setting chosen you can recover communications from trash for up to a maximum of twelve weeks.
The mail item descriptions are displayed in the procedural language of the file.
EPO online services products have been tested for use with all commonly used browsers, but you should ensure that pop-up windows from www.epoline.org are not blocked (note: some browsers block pop-ups by default when they are installed).
The Mailbox can only be accessed if you have a smart card. Are you logged in with a smart card? If you are, your company administrator needs to give you access rights using the administration function.