Notifications are governed in detail by Art. 119 EPC and R. 125 to 130 EPC. Notification may be made by post, delivery by hand, public notice or, as provided for in R. 127 EPC, by means of electronic communication. A set of amendments to the Implementing Regulations concerning notification and the use of electronic tools in proceedings before the EPO entered into force on 1 April 2015 (see Administrative Council decision CA/D 6/14, OJ 2015, A17). In particular amendments to R. 125 EPC, R. 126 EPC, R. 127 EPC and R. 129 EPC were adopted, and these are explained in the sections on the individual forms of notification below. Amended R. 125(1) EPC clarifies what documents must be notified and serves merely as an explicit legal basis for the EPO's existing practice of not formally notifying notices and communications from which no time limits are reckoned (see notice of the EPO dated 30 March 2015, OJ 2015, A36). R. 126(1) EPC was further amended by Administrative Council decision CA/D 2/19 (OJ 2019, A31) to remove the requirement to notify with advice of delivery.
With regard to notifications by electronic communication, a pilot project was launched by the decision of the President of the EPO dated 4 July 2012 (OJ 2012, 486), with the aim of progressively introducing new technical means for the electronic communication of patent applications, other documents, notifications and further information. The pilot project was continued by the decision of the President of the EPO dated 11 March 2015 (OJ 2015, A28). In accordance with Art. 12 of this decision of the President of the EPO, with decision of the Vice-President Legal and International Affairs (Directorate-General 5) of the EPO dated 23 July 2020 (OJ 2020, A89) the EPO launched a pilot project permitting examining divisions to use email to notify important information about oral proceedings. This decision entered into force on 1 September 2020, and the pilot project ran until 31 August 2021.
From 1 June 2021, the boards of appeal began to notify documents in appeal proceedings electronically via the EPO Mailbox (notice of the President of the Boards of Appeal dated 13 April 2021 concerning the extension of electronic notification via the EPO Mailbox to appeal proceedings; OJ 2021, A37).