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.

How much does it cost to use Online Filing 2.0?

Nothing. Like all other filing tools, it is free of charge.

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?

Using Online Filing 2.0, you can file application documents in PDF and DOCX.

Currently DOCX documents can only be attached to EP 1001 (Request for grant of a European patent) and PCT/RO/101 (PCT request).

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)
  • 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) - in demo mode
  • UP 7038 (European patent with unitary effect – letter accompanying subsequently filed items) - in demo mode

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

Yes. To do this, use Form 1038 and attach Form 2300, which can be downloaded from the EPO website.

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?

This is a known bug we are currently working on it.

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, it sometimes happens that 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

Can I assign specific privileges to individual/multiple users, or assign rights in relation to the forms available to users in Online Filing 2.0?

Yes, you can, provided that there are administration rights assigned to your smart card. This allows you to manage user profiles within the Administration tab under Access rights / permissions.

Select the user, click Edit rights. Then select the relevant forms and the relevant actions for each form (draft, sign, send).

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

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).

Access control and smart card issues

How do I access Online Filing 2.0?

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

Being able to access to the tool in DEMO mode means that you can explore the application and practise using it.

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.

What are soft certificates and are they accepted by the EPO?

A soft certificate is a file that contains certificates similar to those on a smart card but which are not stored on or secured by the chip of a smart card. At present, we do not accept applications signed or sent to the EPO using soft certificates via any of the EPO filing tools. It is, however, possible to submit Form PCT/RO/101 drawn up using ePCT and filed using a WIPO-issued certificate.

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 equipment 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.

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

Do I need to install additional software on my workstation to use Online Filing 2.0?

Cryptovision smart card software is required.

You can find a link to cryptovision in the brochure accompanying your PIN code, or you can contact us.

Where can I get the cryptovision software?

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

Which Adobe Acrobat Reader versions are supported in Online Filing 2.0?

Adobe Acrobat Reader version 11 or higher must be installed on your computer for Online Filing 2.0 to work. No other PDF readers or other versions of Acrobat are supported.

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.

Conversion issues

How can I convert my documents into PDF attachments for OLF2.0?

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 Amyuni PDF converter, free of charge, that is pre-configured to create Annex F-compatible PDF files.

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.

Could you please provide me with the link to the new version of Amyuni PDF converter?

The new version 5.0.1.3 of the Amyuni PDF converter is password protected. Please contact Customer Services for a password.

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.

DOCX

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.

How are DOCX documents processed by the EPO?

Once filed in DOCX format, the EPO will transform 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.

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. This means that as soon as you prepare a filing for the PCT procedure you will be working in the ePCT environment, and you will only be in the Online Filing 2.0 environment for signing and sending.

If there are any issues outstanding in my request, should I expect a communication via email or regular mail?

We strongly advise that you provide us with an email address to enable us to contact you quickly. If you do not wish your email address to be published, you can choose to make your data non-public  by not ticking the relevant box.

Quick Navigation