FAQ - Online Filing 2.0

General information

What is Online Filing 2.0?

Online Filing 2.0 is a new EPO web service.

It allows users to work on and file applications together with other users from the same organisation.

Do I get a fee reduction if I use Online Filing 2.0?

The existing fee reductions for filing in electronic form also apply to Online Filing 2.0.

Current filing and submission issues – Documents

What document formats can I file using Online Filing 2.0?

You can file documents in PDF format. As a pilot, the request for grant (EPO Form 1001) can be filed, together with the description, claims, abstract and drawings (application documents) of a European patent application and, if required, translations of any of these documents, in DOCX format.

For more information, see

Can I file documents in DOCX format?

The filing of DOCX documents remains a "pilot" under the umbrella of the Strategic Plan 2023.

In order to be able to file documents in this format, you must volunteer for the pilot.

In the Divisional sub-tab, why is the checkbox The Office is requested to add … automatically crossed?

In the Request tab of Form EP(1001E2K), Divisional sub-tab, the checkbox The Office is requested to add … is pre-crossed. This enables the EPO to add a copy of the standard-compliant sequence listing filed for the earlier (parent) application to the dossier of the divisional application in XML format and for search purposes only (i.e. not as part of the description) (see OJ EPO 2021, A97, point 18). The sequence listing of the earlier application is not automatically added to the dossier of the divisional application if you file an ST.26-compliant sequence listing as part of the divisional application's description or if the sequence listing available in the earlier application does not comply with WIPO Standard ST.26.

Should you not want the EPO to add a copy of the sequence listing filed for the earlier application to the dossier of a divisional application, you should manually clear the checkbox.

Current filing, usability and templates

Do I need to be registered for ePCT to be able to file PCT application to the EPO?

No, ePCT is embedded into Online Filing 2.0. You will prepare your draft of PCT Request, PCT-SFD and PCT Demand using ePCT in Online Filing 2.0. To sign and send, you are brought back to Online Filing 2.0.

What can I file via Online Filing 2.0?

You can file the following via Online Filing 2.0:

  • EP 1001 (Request for grant of a European patent)
  • EP 1200 (Entry into the European phase)
  • EP2300 (Notice of opposition)
  • EP 1038 (Letter accompanying subsequently filed items including documents in opposition, limitation/revocation and appeal proceedings and in proceedings before the Enlarged Board of Appeal under the EPC)
  • PCT/IPEA/401 (PCT demand)
  • PCT-SFD (Subsequent PCT-related actions)
  • PCT/RO/101 (PCT request)
  • UP 7000 (Request for unitary effect)
  • UP 7038 (European patent with unitary effect – letter accompanying subsequently filed items)

Can I file notice of opposition and/or notice of appeal with Online Filing 2.0?

Yes. To file a notice of opposition, select the role opponent and form EP 2300 from Start a procedure. To file an appeal, select Perform an action in appeal proceedings.

Will national plug-ins be included?

No, there are no plans to include national plug-ins in Online Filing 2.0.

Is there an “autosave” if I stop working with the software for a while?

Your work is autosaved when you change to another tab. However, if you are prompted with a time-out dialog, you can select Continue editing to be shown the screen you last worked on. If you select Return to home, a new message will appear asking you to confirm this action, and warning you that any unsaved data will be lost.

Can I duplicate a template?

To duplicate a template, select the template, create a draft and save the draft as a template.

I can’t import the address book (I keep getting an error message). What should I do?

(Select topic: Online services / patent searches)

I am unable to file PDF documents containing pages in landscape orientation via the ePCT template. Why?

It is a WIPO requirement that pages should be in portrait orientation, not in landscape. You cannot attach documents with landscape pages in ePCT.

When I’m filling in the PCT request form, a particular address book entry is not available for selection. Why is that?

To solve this problem, go to the entry in the address book and make sure it has an email address.

I want to import draft applications from my patent management system into Online Filing 2.0. How do I need to structure my file to be able to do this?

You can import the following forms into Online Filing 2.0: EP1001, EP1200 and EP1038. The import requirements of Online Filing 2.0 are the same as those for Online Filing – see this technical manual. Make sure you use the latest DTD specified in the manual.

I tried to import a draft application from Online Filing into Online Filing 2.0 but it didn't work. What should I do?

  • Before export: get the draft application to the Ready to sign status – this will trigger the generation of the request and fee sheet in PDF format. Then export the application from Online Filing, and import it into Online Filing 2.0. You can change the status there from Ready to sign back to Draft. Once the documents in the download package have become available in PDF format, they will not disappear when the status changes.

or (this approach is more technical and requires the ability to "read" .xml files properly)

  • After exporting the draft application from Online Filing, remove the references to the request form and fee sheet in the .xml file. Then import the application into Online Filing 2.0.

I want to import applications from my patent management system (PMS) into Online Filing 2.0. What file structure should I use to do this?

You can import packages into Online Filing 2.0 if they are structured in accordance with our Importing data into EPO Online Filing guidelines. These guidelines specify the document type definitions (DTDs) we support. Although there is some backward compatibility, we strongly recommend that you use the latest DTDs.

How to import an application from Online Filing to Online Filing 2.0

  • Move the submission to Ready to sign status before export. This will trigger the generation of the request and fee sheet in PDF format. Then export and import to Online Filing 2.0.

    You can then change the status from Ready to sign back to Draft. Once the documents are available in PDF format, they will still be present even if the status is changed.

Alternative method (Note: this method requires you to edit in XML)

  • After exporting the draft, remove the references to the request form and fee sheet in the XML before importing.

Updates

Will I need to update Online Filing 2.0?

No. Updating will happen automatically. You can find the latest release note here.

Administration

Will the administrator rights allow me to update several users’ access rights at once?

Yes, it is possible to update several users at the same time.

How can I get access rights to the forms available in Online Filing 2.0?

Contact your Online Filing 2.0 administrator or IT support.

Who is the administrator in Online Filing 2.0?

The first person in your organisation to register to use Online Filing 2.0 is automatically nominated administrator.

Will the administrator of Online Filing 2.0 be able to add me as a user in the portal?

Yes, if your smart card is already defined for the service. Otherwise you will need to complete the registration form.

User registration

Can I register for Online Filing 2.0 on behalf of my colleagues?

If you have administration rights, you can register anyone from your organisation who holds an activated smart card.

By clicking the Administration tab and then selecting Access rights / permissions, you can add new users to your organisation in the Online Filing 2.0 portal.

I'm an Online Filing user and would like to start using Online Filing 2.0. What do I need to do?

To start using Online Filing 2.0, simply complete the registration form. We will process it and inform you when you can start using Online Filing 2.0.

Account Management

How do I assign rights in relation to the forms available to users in Online Filing 2.0?

Provided that there are administration rights assigned to your smart card, you can select the user, click Edit rights and expand the menu via the + icon on the right-hand side of the screen. Then select the relevant forms and the relevant actions for each form (draft, sign, send).

Please note that UNIP forms for individual users can only be activated by the administrator in demo mode.

Access control and smart card issues

Why can I not access the forms in production mode?

Default access, including access for administrators, is granted for demo mode only.

Being able to access the tool in demo mode means that you can explore the application and practise using it. Please contact your company's Online Filing 2.0 administrator if you require forms in production mode.

Do I need a smart card to draw up and file patent applications using Online Filing 2.0?

Yes, with Online Filing 2.0 you need to be logged in with a smart card at all times, including during the signing process.

How do I verify that my smart card reader has been properly installed and that my smart card is recognised by my PC?

When you open the cryptovision Utility module, your smart card's token label and ID are displayed. This confirms that your smart card reader is working properly.

If I enter my PIN code incorrectly three times in succession, how do I then unlock my smart card?

Please contact us.

I can't access Online Filing 2.0. What should I do?

If you can't access Online Filing 2.0 and you get a Website cannot be reached or Website is not available error message, this means that your company has filtering policies in place that are blocking the URL for Online Filing 2.0. Contact your IT administrator to whitelist https://filing.epo.org/dashboard AND https://filing-demo.epo.org/dashboard.

Technical requirements and software/hardware issues

What do I need to file documents via Online Filing 2.0?

To file documents online via Online Filing 2.0 you need equipment capable of accepting a USB smart card reader and its software drivers, and an internet browser. Online Filing 2.0 is not supported on tablets and smartphones.

Which browsers work with Online Filing 2.0?

Online Filing 2.0 is compatible with the following browsers:

  • Google Chrome, version 61.0 or later
  • Mozilla Firefox, version 56.0 or later
  • Edge version 84 or later

Where can I get the cryptovision software needed to use Online Filing 2.0?

You will receive a QR code with the link to the cryptovision software in the brochure accompanying your PIN code, or you can contact us.

Digital signature

What are the requirements for signatures in Online Filing 2.0?

Documents filed via Online Filing 2.0 can be signed by facsimile signature or by text-string signature. Example: /John Smith/

How do I apply a signature in Online Filing 2.0?

To apply a signature, you need to be in the status Ready to sign. After you have reviewed the submission, you can apply a signature by selecting the signing party's card and clicking Add.

Security

What security policies and standards apply to Online Filing 2.0?

The EPO has developed information security policies and standards that are in line with the ISO 27001:2013 standard. We reassess the compliance of Online Filing 2.0 with these policies before each major new release.

Is Online Filing 2.0 reviewed regularly for security vulnerabilities?

Yes, the EPO integrates security design and testing into the development lifecycle, both internally and when working with recognised third parties.

Will the system have or require access to my organisation's data and information?

The new online filing system is a web-based application that does not require access to any external source of information. The only information processed by the EPO is information that has been entered and uploaded by the user.

Does the system store information locally on the client? What information is stored and how is it protected from unauthorised access?

Online Filing 2.0 is a web application. As such, only cookies are stored locally. These merely contain context information used to enhance the user experience in accordance with web development standards.

How are password and cryptographic keys protected within the software?

The use of smart cards means that user credentials can be protected within the cards themselves, and therefore only public keys are stored within the system.

What activity can be logged by the system? How is access to the log files and audit trails restricted?

Logs are implemented in accordance with EPO security policies. User transactions and uploaded information are scrutinised from a security perspective (including DDoS, malware, etc.), but the logs do not store any user data. Access to the logs is restricted to accredited employees from the EPO’s information security department, under the authority of the Chief Information Security Officer, and subject to the recommendations and advice of the Data Protection Officer.

The Annex F standard

What is the Annex F standard?

The Annex F standard states that all documents in PDF format must meet the following requirements:

  • They must be Adobe Portable Document Format Version 1.4 compatible
  • They must have non-compressed text to facilitate searching
  • The text must be unencrypted
  • They must not contain any embedded OLE objects
  • All fonts must be embedded and licensed for distribution

The latest version of the Amyuni PDF converter is password-protected. Please contact Customer Services for a password.

Conversion issues

How can I convert my documents into PDF attachments for Online Filing 2.0?

PDF files sent to the EPO must comply with the Annex F standard. If you try to upload a PDF which does not comply with this standard you will receive an error message.

For the convenience of our users, the EPO provides, free of charge, Amyuni PDF Converter software that is pre-configured to create Annex F-compatible PDF files. The latest version of this Amyuni PDF Converter is password-protected. Please contact Customer Services for a password.

What is the pre-conversion archive in the Online Filing 2.0?

In the pre-conversion archive you can add the documents (description, claims, abstract, drawings) that you have attached to your application in PDF or XML format in their original format (e.g. MS Word) in a .zip file.

DOCX (pilot)

Do I get a fee reduction for filing documents in DOCX format?

No, there is no fee reduction for filing DOCX documents.

The (further) reduction of the filing fee (and some other fees) for DOCX filing has been abolished.

For more information about this, see the EPO Official Journal, e.g. OJ EPO 2019, A6.

If I file DOCX documents, they will be original documents in Online Filing 2.0. But what will the examiner see internally?

The DOCX document will be converted by the EPO into a PDF and this is what the examiner will then see.

If I submit DOCX documents only, what is rendered by the EPO for the examiner and what is rendered for the Register?

Once filed in DOCX format, the EPO will convert the application documents into ST.36 XML for further processing. If there are any errors, inconsistencies or omissions, the original disclosure in DOCX format will be consulted. If any doubts or inconsistencies remain despite having consulted the DOCX file, the PDF back-up copy, if filed, can be checked. It is important to note, however, that a PDF back-up copy can never be used to replace the DOCX version. Both the application documents in DOCX format and the PDF back-up copy will be made available for file inspection in accordance with Article 128 EPC.

I do not see what is rendered at the time of filing, but I thought I did in the previous DOCX pilot. Why is this option no longer available?

You can view rendered DOCX documents in the submission package.

Filing an abstract appears to be mandatory in DOCX. Why is this the case when it is not a legal requirement?

At the moment, only full sets of application documents can be submitted. For more information, see OJ EPO 2020, A44.

When I try to attach a document in DOCX, I get an error message. What standards does a DOCX document need to meet?

Is there a template for the DOCX requirements?

We suggest that you use WIPO’s template:

What is the logic behind converting documents to a PDF and then submitting that PDF too. How would that work in practice (potentially there could then be three versions of a document: DOCX, the EPO rendered PDF document & my PDF back-up copy)?

You can, if you wish, file a PDF back-up copy of any application documents filed in DOCX format. The only condition is that you file them in PDF and DOCX format in a single submission. Documents filed in DOCX format constitute the originally filed documents. This is of particular importance when filing an application. The application documents filed in DOCX format constitute the content of the application as filed within the meaning of Article 123(2) EPC. A PDF back-up copy can serve as evidence of what you intended to file (e.g. in the case of a request for correction under Rule 139 EPC).

Migration

Can I migrate the address book from Online Filing to Online Filing 2.0?

Yes. You can export the address book from Online Filing by first saving it in XLS format on your computer, then importing it into Online Filing 2.0 via the Administration tab. Select Address book and then Import.

For more information, see Chapter 15 of the user guide.

Can I migrate filed submissions to Online Filing 2.0?

In principle, all submissions can be migrated. Imported items will be saved under Submissions, regardless of their status, but only as a draft. In other words, applications that have been filed and submitted via Online Filing will be reset to "draft" status.

How do I import applications from Online Filing into Online Filing 2.0?

After exporting the application from Online Filing, open the Administration tab in Online Filing 2.0, select Submission imports, then Import submission. You will find the imported item in "draft" status under Submissions. After opening it, you can move it to the desired status, to a folder or save it as a template.

Can I migrate templates from Online Filing to Online Filing 2.0?

Yes. The exported template from Online Filing will be imported in "draft" status into Submissions. On opening the application, the Save as template function will be displayed.

Which applications can be imported into Online Filing 2.0?

Only EP applications can be imported into Online Filing 2.0.

Can I import PCT applications into Online Filing 2.0?

PCT applications cannot be imported due to the fact that ePCT (WIPO filing software) has been embedded in Online Filing 2.0.

Unitary Patent: transitional measures

When and for which European patents can a Unitary Patent be requested and are there any transitional measures?

A Unitary Patent may be requested for any European patent granted on or after the date of application of Regulations (EU) No 1257/2012 and (EU) No 1260/2012. These two regulations will apply from the date of entry into force of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (UPCA). The EPO will announce this date on its website.

To encourage early uptake of the Unitary Patent, the EPO has introduced two transitional measures for users.

  • Early request for unitary effect: this enables applicants to file a request for unitary effect before the start of the Unitary Patent system, which allows the EPO to register unitary effect immediately when it starts, provided all the requirements under the Rules relating to Unitary Patent Protection are met.
  • Request for a delay in issuing the decision to grant a European patent: applicants can make this request after receiving a communication under Rule 71(3) EPC from the EPO ("intention to grant") and before approving the text intended for grant. This ensures that the mention of the grant of the European patent is published in the European Patent Bulletin on or immediately after the date the Unitary Patent system starts and so prevent applicants from missing out on the opportunity to obtain a Unitary Patent in the transitional phase.

These options become available, ahead of the entry into operation of the Unitary Patent system, from 1 January 2023.

Detailed explanations and some examples of how these two transitional measures work can be found here.

How can I make an early request for unitary effect?

Early requests for unitary effect may only be filed for European patent applications in respect of which a communication under Rule 71(3) EPC has been despatched. Such requests should preferably be filed online.

When filing the early request for unitary effect please use the dedicated Form 7000 (request for unitary effect), and not Form 1038, provided in both Online Filing (eOLF) and Online Filing 2.0. When filing via eOLF make sure to use the latest version of the software.

When using Web-form filing, it is highly recommended to use Form 7000 and file it via the filing type “Request for unitary effect”. Before completing Form 7000 it is highly recommended to read the explanatory notes.

Please note that the possibility to file early requests will only be available until the start date of the Unitary Patent system on 1 June 2023. For more information about the Unitary Patent, see the dedicated FAQ.

How can I request a delay in issuing the decision to grant a European patent?

You can make this request from 1 January 2023 after receiving a communication under Rule 71(3) EPC from the EPO ("intention to grant") and before approving the text intended for grant. This request should preferably be filed online and will only be available until the start date of the Unitary Patent system.

Attachment type Form 2025 (request for a delay in issuing the decision to grant a European patent) is available from 1 January 2023 in both Online Filing (eOLF)Online Filing 2.0 and web-form filing via Form EP 1038 (EP subsequently filed documents).

For more information about the Unitary Patent, please see the dedicated FAQ.

When the request for unitary effect is finalised, Online Filing 2.0 (OLF 2.0) generates an XML file. Is it possible to automatically upload an XML with the required information?

Neither Online Filing (OLF) nor OLF 2.0 supports XML filings (i.e. attaching the form as an XML). However, the systems support the importing of packages. Therefore, if the package is constructed with a Patent Management System (PMS) gateway and it meets the standards and requirements, it can be imported into OLF and OLF 2.0.

The EPO will provide the technical documentation on the PMS gateway in good time at epo.org/applying/online-services/online-filing/interface.html.

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