The EPO’s Ombuds Office service is available to anyone who experiences difficulties in their dealings with the European Patent Office and who has exhausted the regular channels for resolving these difficulties. The Ombuds Office acts as a facilitator of these exceptional cases and helps get matters back on track in an informal, confidential and neutral environment.
Scope of the Ombuds Office service
The Ombuds Office can be contacted on any issue resulting from the activities of the Office. The service is independent of formal processes and does not address matters that concern the Boards of Appeal. The aim of the Ombuds Office is to provide a space to talk informally and confidentially about difficulties such as stalled processes and to help resolve these.
The Ombuds Office will seek to clarify the issue with the stakeholder, work through the available options and establish what the stakeholder wants to see happen. The aim is then to identify and bring together the right people in an informal setting to resolve the issue. The Ombuds Office will follow up on cases until they are closed. The learning from the cases helps the Office further develop its Integrated Management System for continuous improvement in the consistency and predictability of service delivery.
Principles – informal, neutral and confidential
The Ombuds Office's goal is to empower stakeholders in building healthy and meaningful working relationships that help ensure the predictability, consistency and value of the services the EPO delivers.
Communication with the Ombuds Office is off the record and does not constitute part of any formal procedure. Upon contacting the Ombuds Office, the stakeholder’s matter will be treated in the strictest confidence. Issue-related data will be shared confidentially only with the appropriate management, who will receive the minimum amount of essential information required to address the issue. Any personal data used while handling the case will be destroyed once the matter is closed.
Contacting the Ombuds Office
The Ombuds Office can be contacted via e-mail at email@example.com; requests should include the stakeholder’s full name, contact details and preferences, as well as a short and anonymised description of the issue the stakeholder wants to bring to the Ombuds Office’s attention. The stakeholder will receive confirmation of receipt and be allocated a case number; the Ombuds Office will contact them within a few days to clarify matters and discuss next steps.