We are looking for volunteers to actively participate in the pilot of the EPO's new user area.
Under Goal 2 of the Strategic Plan 2023 the EPO is working towards a digital transformation that will deliver new online tools to better address user needs. Key initiative 3 (Develop new online user engagement) includes the introduction of a new user area on our website.
The user area will bring several services, including electronic notification in EPO proceedings and ways to view and manage patent application portfolios, together in one place and offer a modern, simplified approach to procedural submissions.
It is designed to improve the exchange of digital information, simplify procedures, and enable more direct interaction with EPO examiners on files.
It will initially be accessed from the epo.org website using an existing smart card, but more options will become available in future.
We will be developing the services available via the user area progressively between now and 2023.
Pilot participants will be invited to use and give feedback on the following services:
Pilot participants will be able to access Mailbox from the user area. It will still be possible to access Mailbox in the existing way.
Pilot participants will be able to do the following in the user area:
They will be able to continue working with the My Files service and the existing filing methods.
We may later decide to expand the pilot to include more services and functionalities. We will inform participants as and when they are added.
We aim to start the pilot on 2 November 2021. It is planned to run for at least six months.
Any user with a smart card who has activated Mailbox may participate in the pilot upon registration and subsequent invitation by the EPO.
Initially, however, only registered European professional representatives will be able to use the application portfolio services.
We may later open up the pilot and the available services to other users.
When selecting pilot participants, we will try to ensure a fair balance in terms of their profile, company size, location, and level of expertise. So, even if we do not contact you immediately, we will save your details and get back to you when we need your support.
Your commitment as a pilot participant will help us to refine the services available in the user area before general release and we are very much looking forward to your feedback.
During the pilot, participants will still be able to use the current Mailbox and My Files services and existing filing methods, although we hope they will find the user experience and additional features offered in the user area attractive.
The user area services are intended to replace the My Files service and become the only point of access to Mailbox eventually. But this will only happen if the pilot is successful and we will give users plenty of advance notice to enable them to prepare for the change.
Even if you are taking part in the user area pilot, you will still be able to use the existing methods for filing documents.
However, any procedural actions you perform in the user area during the pilot will be considered procedural acts in EPO proceedings in accordance with the applicable EPC and PCT provisions and with:
For more information, see also the notice from the European Patent Office dated 19 August 2021 concerning the user area pilot project (OJ EPO 2021, A65).