FAQ: web-form filing

General information

What is web-form filing?

A secure EPO web-based service that allows you to submit documents relating to the patent grant process with the EPO.

Who can use web-form filing?

Anyone can use it, so long as they register for the service. To register, you must provide a valid email address.

What document types can I file using web-form filing?

Only documents in PDF can be filed via the web-form filing service. The PDF should comply with WIPO's Annex F standard for e-filing.

To guarantee compliance, you should ensure that your PDF generator and resulting PDFs meet the following criteria:

  • All fonts are embedded (exception: Base 14 fonts are accepted even if they are not embedded).
  • The page size is A4.
  • The PDF is not encrypted.
  • The PDF does not contain colour or greyscale images or drawings.
  • The PDF is version 1.1 (or later).
  • The PDF does not contain embedded OLE objects.

If you are generating PDFs from paper documents using your scanner you should adjust the settings of your scanner accordingly.

The EPO offers free-of-charge access to a version of Amyuni PDF Converter which is preconfigured to produce PDF documents that can be transmitted with web-form filing.

How do I pay with web-form filing?

It is not possible to pay fees from within web-form filing.

Which documents can be uploaded with web-form filing?

  • EP 1001 – Request for grant of a European patent
  • Euro-PCT 1200 – Entry into the European phase
  • EP subsequently filed documents except in opposition, limitation and revocation proceedings (Articles 99 to 105c EPC) and appeal proceedings (Articles 106 to 112a EPC)
  • PCT/RO/101 (RO-EPO) – Request
  • PCT RO-EPO subsequently filed documents
  • PCT ISA-EPO subsequently filed documents
  • PCT IPEA-EPO subsequently filed documents

Which documents are not currently supported by web-form filing?

  • documents in opposition, limitation and revocation proceedings (Articles 99 to 105c EPC) and appeal proceedings (Articles 106 to 112a EPC)
  • priority documents
  • authorisations

What happens if I submit documents not supported by web-form filing?

Documents not supported by web-form filing are deemed not to have been received.

What are the signature requirements?

You can use a facsimile signature or a text-string signature to sign documents filed via the web-form filing service. For example: /John Smith/.

Please note that simply logging in to the web-form filing service does not fulfil the signature requirements.

Are there any fee reductions available when using web-form filing?

You can find the latest online filing fees in the Schedule of Fees.

Do I have to send a confirmation copy on paper?

No.

Is there a size limit on the files I can upload?

The size limit is 25 MB for an individual file, and 50 MB for all the files in the submission as a whole.

Registration

How do I register for web-form filing?

As a new web-form filing user you can register via the Enrol for a username and password link on the login screen. Please complete and submit the enrolment form. You will receive your password within a few minutes via email.

After enrolment, when will I be able to file documents?

You will be able to use web-form filing as soon as you receive the registration notification email.

I have forgotten my username. What should I do?

You can request an email reminder of the username(s) assigned to an email account by clicking Forgotten login details? on the login screen.

I have forgotten my password. What should I do?

You can request a new password by clicking Forgotten login details? on the login screen. You will receive your new password within a few minutes via email.

Nothing happens when I click "Next step" on the login screen. What should I do?

Make sure you are using the latest version of your browser or try using a different browser.

I cannot access web-form filing with my login details. What should I do?

Please contact us.

Can I change my password?

You can change your password after logging in with your current username and password by clicking "Logged in as".

Can I change the email address I have registered for web-form filing?

Yes. You can change your email address in the "Edit User Details" menu. To access this menu, log in with your current username and password, and click on "Logged in as [username]" in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.

My chosen username is already taken. What can I do?

Unfortunately you cannot register a username that has already been taken in either web-form filing or the European Patent Register Alert. You must choose another username.

Date of receipt of documents

What is the date of receipt of my document?

The date of receipt will be the date on which you complete the submission process.

Acknowledgment of receipt

How will receipt be acknowledged?

All successful submissions are acknowledged via email.

If you wish to receive a detailed acknowledgement of receipt, please check the box indicated below.

If this box is checked, a detailed acknowledgement will be available for download on the confirmation screen as soon as the submission process is complete and attached to the acknowledgement sent via email.

How can I receive a detailed acknowledgement of receipt as an email attachment?

In the section "Filing type & documents", check the box "Please send a detailed acknowledgement of receipt to this registered e-mail address".

I forgot to request a copy by email of the detailed acknowledgement of receipt. What should I do?

Please contact us.

I forgot to download the detailed acknowledgement of receipt. Can I download it later on?

No. You cannot download the detailed acknowledgement of receipt after your session has ended or you have started a new filing operation. Please contact us.

Will I receive my application number immediately?

If you are filing with web-form filing for the first time, you will not be assigned an application number immediately. It will be communicated to you later.

If you need help obtaining your application number, please contact us.

I did not receive my acknowledgement email. What should I do?

Check your spam folder. If you cannot find it there, please contact us.

Where can I find help?

Where can I find the user guide for web-form filing?

Who do I contact for help?

Please contact us.

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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