If you have your residence or principal place of business in a contracting state, you may act on your own behalf in proceedings before the EPO (but see point 2.1.003).
If you have neither a residence nor your principal place of business in a contracting state, you must appoint a representative and act through them in all proceedings before the EPO other than in filing your European patent application and paying the fees. 
Representation before the EPO may be undertaken only by professional representatives who are on a list maintained by the EPO, or by legal practitioners entitled to act before the EPO. You will find a searchable online database of professional representatives on the EPO website (
As a rule, professional representatives who identify themselves as such do not need to file an authorisation, unless required under special circumstances. 
Representatives may be authorised either by individual authorisation or by general authorisation. The relevant forms, to which amendments are permitted, can be downloaded free of charge from the EPO website (
General authorisations are registered at the EPO. These are a practical option for all concerned. 
If an authorisation is required but not filed within the period specified by the EPO, any actions taken by the representative other than the filing of the European patent application and the payment of fees are deemed not to have been taken. 
If several representatives are appointed, they may act either jointly or singly before the EPO, regardless of any provisions to the contrary in the notification of their appointment or in the authorisation. With multiple representatives it is also advisable to give the particulars of only one of them in the request for grant, appending "et al." to their name. The EPO will address its correspondence to the representative named in the request for grant as long as it is not informed to the contrary. 
You may also appoint an association of representatives consisting of professional representatives in private practice or employed in a company. In such a case each representative practising in this association is deemed to be authorised. 
If you appoint an association, all communications will be notified to the registered address of the association indicated in the request for grant form (see point 4.1.013).
If you have your residence or principal place of business in a contracting state, you may also be represented by an employee, who need not be a professional representative. 
An employee who is representing their employer and who is not a professional representative must have an individual or general authorisation (see point 4.1.025).
If an application is filed by more than one person, the request for grant should designate one of them or a professional representative as the common representative. Otherwise, the applicant named first in the request for grant is deemed to be the common representative. However, if one of the applicants is obliged to appoint a professional representative, the latter is deemed to be the common representative unless the applicant named first in the request for grant has appointed a professional representative. 
The particulars of the representative's name and business address given in the request for grant are recorded in the European Patent Register, published in the European Patent Bulletin and printed in the published European patent application and patent. 
Notifications sent by the EPO (communications, notices, decisions and summonses) are addressed: 
to the representative recorded in the European Patent Register; or 
to you as applicant if you do not appoint a representative, and also if an employee is acting on your behalf. 
If you are acting without a professional representative, have several addresses and wish notifications in proceedings before the EPO to be sent to one address while a different address is to be used for publications, the European Patent Register and the patent certificate, you can indicate an address for correspondence in the request for grant (see point 4.1.013), "Address for correspondence" (section 9 of the paper form). The address for correspondence must be your own address and must be located in an EPC contracting state. Post cannot be sent to a different (natural or legal) person, since that requires a valid form of representation under Articles 133 and 134. If you are acting through an employee (Article 133(3)), the address for correspondence still has to be one of your own addresses. To facilitate postal delivery or internal distribution of mail, the address may include a sub-division within a firm, provided it is not a separate legal person.

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