FAQ - Online Filing 2.0

Decommissioning of online filing (CMS)

When is CMS being decommissioned?

CMS is being decommissioned with effect from 1 January 2022.

Which services can I use to file patent applications online after CMS is decommissioned?

From 1 January 2022 you can use Online Filing 2.0 (which replaces CMS), Online Filing and Web-Form Filing. You can use ePCT to file international patent applications under the PCT and documents relating to such applications.

Will I still have access to CMS after it has been decommissioned?

From 1 January 2022 it will no longer be possible to access CMS. It will be removed from the EPO website.

Will I continue to have access to the data stored in CMS after 31 December 2021?

No. We strongly recommend that you transfer data of interest before the end of the transitional period.

Will my data stored in CMS be automatically transferred to Online Filing 2.0?

No. Users with the relevant access rights can transfer the data. See the next points.

Will the address book in CMS be automatically transferred to Online Filing 2.0?

No. Users with the relevant access rights can export the address book from CMS and import it into Online Filing 2.0.

How can I migrate my address book from CMS to Online Filing 2.0?

Open CMS, and export your address book in CSV UTF-8 format. In Online Filing 2.0, Administration tab, select Address book and click Import.

The column headings in the CMS address book you want to import into Online Filing 2.0 must be in English. To avoid having to make manual changes following migration, we recommend switching the CMS GUI language to English before you export the address book. The export language will not impact the content of the address book: once imported into Online Filing 2.0, the countries will be shown in the GUI language set in Online Filing 2.0 (French, German or English).

After the export, you can switch the CMS GUI language back to French or German.

Can I import my sent applications in Online Filing 2.0 in order to re-create an archive?

Online Filing 2.0 does not permit the import of submitted applications, including submission packages and receipts. These can only be exported from CMS to your computer. By contrast, it is possible to migrate submissions in draft status from CMS to Online Filing 2.0.

How can I migrate submissions in draft status from CMS to Online Filing 2.0?

Open CMS, select the submission you want to export and click Export. The submission is exported in ZIP format to your computer. In Online Filing 2.0, Administration tab, select Submission imports and click Import submission. Drag and drop or upload the ZIP file and click Import. Your submission is imported in "draft" status, and can be found under the Submissions tab.

Can I migrate templates from new online filing (CMS) to Online Filing 2.0?

Yes, you can migrate templates. In CMS open the template you want to export and click Use for new application. A new application is created in “draft” status, which can now be exported like a submission. Click Export; the submission is exported in ZIP format to your computer. In Online Filing 2.0, Administration tab, choose Submission imports and click Import submission. Drag and drop or upload the ZIP file and click Import. Your submission is imported as a submission in “draft” status, and can be found under the Submissions tab. To save as a template, select the submission, click Edit, and click Save as template when the submission opens.

I'm trying to import my exported files from CMS into Online Filing 2.0, but I get the following error message: "System cannot import application". Why?

You can export up to 25 applications from CMS; this will create one ZIP file which will contain the 25 applications in ZIP format. Online Filing 2.0 does not support the import of large files, which means that you need to import all 25 ZIPs one by one.

How do I register for Online Filing 2.0?

If you are a registered CMS user, you have been given access to Online Filing 2.0 in demo mode. If you are an administrator in CMS you are automatically defined as an administrator in Online Filing 2.0 and you are able to access the demo and the production environment.

If you are not an administrator in CMS and you want to get access to the production environment of Online Filing 2.0, you need to contact the administrator of your organisation.

If you have never used CMS, fill in and submit the registration form. We will process it and inform you when you can start using Online Filing 2.0.

Once I have registered, how soon will I be able to use the software?

You will be able to start using Online Filing 2.0 on the first working day following receipt of the email confirmation from us.

If I can’t find the information I need in the user guide and FAQs, who can I contact for help?

If you need help, please use our contact form (select the topic Online services / patent searches and the subject Online Filing 2.0).

Is the system formally documented? What documentation is available for users?

We offer a user guide:

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.

Where to find help

If I can’t find the information I need in the user guide and FAQs, who can I contact for help?

If you need help, please use our contact form (select the topic Online services / patent searches and the subject Online Filing 2.0).

Is the system formally documented? What documentation is available for users?

We offer a user guide:

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.

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 with Online Filing 2.0?

At the moment you can file the following to the EPO:

  • 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)

Can I file notice of opposition and/or notice of appeal?

Yes, but as in CMS you need to file notice of opposition or appeal using EP 1038.

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” when I stop working with the software for a while?

No, this feature is not implemented. Instead you are prompted with a time-out dialog: if you select Continue editing, you will be shown the screen you last worked on; if you select Return to home, a new message appears asking you to confirm this action because any unsaved data will be lost.

Can I duplicate a template?

No, this is not possible.

How long will submissions be available in the portal?

There are no plans yet to remove submissions from the portal.

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.

When you file a PCT/RO/101, the ePCT template opens. Is this a new behaviour?

Yes. A PCT/RO/101 plug-in has not been developed for Online Filing 2.0, so any time you select a PCT form, the ePCT template will open. You will draft your form in the ePCT environment, but then sign and send it in Online Filing 2.0.

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 filling in the PCT request form, it sometimes happens that a particular address book entry is not available for selection. Why is that?

For PCT applications, the email address is a mandatory field. If you saved an address book record in Online Filing 2.0 without a valid email address, the record will not be available for selection when filling in the PCT request form. To make the address book record available, you need to update the email address field in the address book.

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: EP 1001, EP 1200 and EP 1038. The import requirements of Online Filing 2.0 are basically the same as those for Online Filing – see this technical manual.

The manual specifies the DTD versions your files should refer to. Even though some level of backwards compatibility is supported, we strongly advise that you refer to the versions indicated 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.

Updates

Do I need to perform any action when the software needs an update?

No. The software is web-based, and any upgrade is performed on the EPO side. You will be always presented with the latest version.


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

If you don't have administrator rights assigned to your smart card, please contact the Online Filing 2.0 administrator in your organisation. They can give you access to forms and permission to perform various tasks.

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

How do I register for Online Filing 2.0?

If you are a registered CMS user, you have been given access to Online Filing 2.0 in demo mode. If you are an administrator in CMS you are automatically defined as an administrator in Online Filing 2.0 and you are able to access the demo and the production environment.

If you are not an administrator in CMS and you want to get access to the production environment of Online Filing 2.0, you need to contact the administrator of your organisation.

If you have never used CMS, fill in and submit the registration form. We will process it and inform you when you can start using Online Filing 2.0.

Once I have registered, how soon will I be able to use the software?

You will be able to start using Online Filing 2.0 on the first working day following receipt of the email confirmation from us.

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 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 Administrationtab under Access rights / permissions

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?

Access to the tool in demo mode gives you a chance to explore the application and practise using it. It is granted automatically to all registered CMS users, i.e. standard users and administrators.

Access to Online Filing 2.0 allows you to make submissions to the European Patent Office, or perform any action relating to such submissions. It is granted automatically to administrators in CMS. Administrator status in Online Filing 2.0 is also granted automatically to administrators in CMS. You should contact the Online Filing 2.0 administrator in your organisation if, as a standard user, you have access to the demo mode and now need access to Online Filing 2.0.

If you have never used CMS, you can request access to Online Filing 2.0 by filling in this form.

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.

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?

As a web application, this service does not require users to install any applications on their own workstations other than the cryptovision smart-card reader driver. Cryptovision must be installed on every PC where a smart card reader is used.

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.

Can users work with the system while they are offline?

No, you can only use Online Filing 2.0 online.

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/

Can I sign applications using a software certificate?

At present, the EPO does not accept any applications signed or submitted using soft certificates. This includes applications filed using Online Filing 2.0.

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 Online filing 2.0?

Within the document, go to File => Print and select the Amyuni PDF Converter from the list of printers, then click OK. You will need to give the resulting PDF file a name. The Amyuni PDF Converter is set up as a regular printer and can convert data from any software with printing ability.

You can also use any other PDF converter as long as the resulting PDFs comply with the Annex F standard. By using the Amyuni PDF converter, you can always be sure that your documents are Annex-F-compliant.

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.

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

How can I migrate my address book from CMS to Online Filing 2.0?

Open CMS, and export your address book in CSV UTF-8 format. In Online Filing 2.0, Administration tab, select Address book and click Import.

The column headings in the CMS address book you want to import into Online Filing 2.0 must be in English. To avoid having to make manual changes following migration, we recommend switching the CMS GUI language to English before you export the address book. The export language will not impact the content of the address book: once imported into Online Filing 2.0, the countries will be shown in the GUI language set in Online Filing 2.0 (French, German or English).

After the export, you can switch the CMS GUI language back to French or German.

How can I migrate submissions in draft status from CMS to Online Filing 2.0?

Open CMS, select the submission you want to export and click Export. The submission is exported in ZIP format to your computer. In Online Filing 2.0, Administration tab, select Submission imports and click Import submission. Drag and drop or upload the ZIP file and click Import. Your submission is imported in "draft" status, and can be found under the Submissions tab.

Can I migrate templates from new online filing (CMS) to Online Filing 2.0?

Yes, you can migrate templates. In CMS open the template you want to export and click Use for new application. A new application is created in “draft” status, which can now be exported like a submission. Click Export; the submission is exported in ZIP format to your computer. In Online Filing 2.0, Administration tab, choose Submission imports and click Import submission. Drag and drop or upload the ZIP file and click Import. Your submission is imported as a submission in “draft” status, and can be found under the Submissions tab. To save as a template, select the submission, click Edit, and click Save as template when the submission opens.

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 integrated 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 only for signing and sending will you be in the Online Filing 2.0 environment.

 

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.

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