EUROPEAN PATENT OFFICE
Information from the EPO
Notice from the European Patent Office dated 31 May 2023 concerning the introduction of a shared area in MyEPO Portfolio
The EPO launched MyEPO Portfolio in June 2022. MyEPO Portfolio is a secure, web-based online service that allows the inspection of documents in the electronic file, provides access to electronic notifications in EPO proceedings (Mailbox) and offers a contemporary, simplified approach to making procedural submissions.
To increase quality and transparency as well as to allow for real-time interaction between users and examiners, the EPO has set up a shared area in MyEPO Portfolio. The shared area will offer examining divisions and applicants or their representatives new opportunities for conducting consultations. The present notice defines the framework and workflow for this new means of interaction.
1. There are instances where personal consultation can be helpful in advancing the procedure. Users and examiners arrange a date for a consultation, normally by videoconference, to discuss the case informally. The rules for consultations as set out in the Guidelines for Examination in the EPO apply irrespective of whether the shared area in MyEPO Portfolio is used.1
2. Both examiners and users can upload documents to the shared area. The upload can take place before the consultation. Documents must be in DOCX format. All users having access to the patent application via MyEPO Portfolio can access the documents uploaded to the shared area.
3. Changes to uploaded documents are tracked by default. Users and examiners can make changes to documents in the shared area prior to, and in preparation of, the consultation.
4. All changes are informal. This means that changes made by examiners are not to be considered as an official communication from an examining division, and changes made by users are not to be considered as a formal submission.
5. Changes made by examiners are merely suggestions made to assist users. Users are not bound to these changes and are free to amend them in any way they choose. The responsibility for determining the text of an application and for defining the subject-matter for which protection is sought remains with the applicants (Article 113(2) EPC).2
6. A copy of the uploaded document or relevant parts thereof will be attached to the minutes of the consultation.
7. The documents can remain in the shared area after the consultation. If examiners and users agree on a further consultation, they may continue working on these documents or upload new documents.
8. As usual, any agreement reached is ultimately subject to the views of the other members of the examining division, and any changes and statements made before and during a consultation must be confirmed in writing to be procedurally effective. Otherwise they are normally not legally binding and not effective to meet a time limit.3