4.3.001You can file European patent applications in electronic form using the EPO Online Filing software, which can be obtained from the EPO free of charge (see epo.org). Filings using this software may be made online or on electronic data carriers admitted by the EPO.
Alternatively, you may use the web-based Online Filing 2.0 or the EPO Web-Form Filing service, which are also provided free of charge via the EPO website (epo.org). Links to the online filing services are given in Annex III.
If you use Online Filing, you can also file European patent applications in electronic form with the competent national authorities of the contracting states which so permit. Divisional applications must, however, be filed with the EPO direct.
4.3.002The EPO's electronic filing services have a number of advantages. They offer a secure, reliable and efficient way of filing applications with the EPO. They enable fully electronic handling of filings, save you time and paper-handling costs and provide you with an instant acknowledgement of receipt. A further benefit of electronic filing is that the original quality of the documents is maintained. In addition, for applications filed in electronic form with either the EPO or a competent national authority, the filing fee is reduced.
A new online service named MyEPO Portfolio has recently been launched. As a secure, web-based online service for parties to proceedings before the EPO, it allows users to view their application portfolios, consult documents in the digital file, receive EPO Mailbox communications and perform procedural acts in response to communications from the EPO. The range of procedural acts which can be submitted will be expanded progressively. An EPO smart card is needed to access MyEPO Portfolio.
On the EPO website you will find more information regarding the other online services provided by the EPO, including Central Fee Payment, MyFiles and the Mailbox service.
(a) with the EPO in Munich, its branch at The Hague or its sub-office in Berlin, but not at its sub-offices in Vienna and Brussels
(b) with the central industrial property office or other competent authority of a contracting state if the law of that state so permits or prescribes (with the exception of divisional applications)
If you decide not to file online, the EPO's addresses and fax numbers are given in Annex III. The addresses and fax numbers of the national patent authorities and national provisions of the contracting states governing compulsory or optional filing of European patent applications with such authorities are given in National law relating to the EPC (see point 2.1.004).
4.3.005If you file on paper by post or especially by fax, the quality of the documents may be reduced. As the EPO uses an optical character recognition system to capture European patent applications for printing, you are urged to use a machine-readable typeface for your applications (see point 4.2.005).