EUROPEAN PATENT OFFICE
Information from the EPO
Decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 9 October 2023 concerning the web-based online service MyEPO Portfolio and electronic notification to the Mailbox
The President of the European Patent Office, having regard to Articles 10(2)(a), 119 and 128 and Rules 2, 127, 145 and 147 EPC and to Articles 27(7) and 49 and Rules 44, 80.6, 89bis.1 and 2, 94.2bis and 94.3 PCT, has decided as follows:
Scope of MyEPO Portfolio
1. MyEPO Portfolio is a secure, web-based online service for parties to proceedings before the EPO. It is accessible from the MyEPO area on the EPO website.
2. Use of MyEPO Portfolio requires a smart card with certificates issued by the EPO or any other means of authentication allowed by the EPO.1
3. By signing in to MyEPO Portfolio, access is provided to:
(a) electronic notification via Mailbox;
(b) electronic filing as specified in Article 3;
(c) inspection of files as specified in Article 5;
(d) a shared area as specified in Article 7;
(e) a representative area as specified in Article 8;
(f) upon further announcement, additional functionalities.
4. The availability of certain functionalities in MyEPO Portfolio is limited to specific categories of users. European professional representatives, legal practitioners entitled to act in proceedings under Article 134(8) EPC and parties who have their residence or place of business in an EPC contracting state can register for electronic notification via Mailbox. International agents and applicants who do not have their residence or principal place of business in an EPC contracting state but are entitled to act before the EPO in PCT international phase proceedings can register for electronic notification via Mailbox to receive communications from the EPO in the international phase where it acts as (S)ISA or IPEA. Electronic filing and the Shared area are available for European professional representatives, legal practitioners and applicants who have not appointed a professional representative or legal practitioner. The Representative area is available for European professional representatives. Where multiple professional representatives have been individually appointed, only the first named representative on EPO Form 1001 or 1200 has access to electronic filing or to inspection of the files of unpublished applications. Functionalities may be made available to additional categories of users upon announcement on the EPO website or in the Official Journal of the EPO.
1. Electronic notification under Rule 127 EPC is effected by electronic communication to an activated Mailbox.
2. The Mailbox can be accessed through MyEPO Portfolio, through the existing Mailbox service or, upon request, via an application programming interface (API).
3. Electronic notification is used for the decisions, summonses, notices and communications contained in a list published on the EPO website or in another suitable form.
4. Transmission within the meaning of Rule 127(2) EPC as in force until 31 October 2023 is deemed to have occurred on the date of the document, provided the document has been made available in the Mailbox by that date. Documents reach their destination within the meaning of Rule 127(2) EPC as in force as of 1 November 2023 on the date the document has been made available in the corresponding Mailbox.
5. Electronic notification in proceedings under the PCT is governed by the provisions of the PCT.
6. In case of electronic notification, no paper copies will be notified in parallel.
7. In so far as notification is effected in the form of structured data, the Office will make conversion tools available to the parties to the proceedings.
8. Paragraphs 1 to 7 apply mutatis mutandis to the electronic delivery of notices and communications not subject to notification.
1. Users can perform procedural acts in reply to a communication from the EPO within the prescribed period ("pending procedural actions"), file procedural requests (ʺprocedural actionsʺ) and submit accompanying documents. The list of pending procedural actions is displayed under Procedural actions and indicates the deadline for performing each action.
2. Any accompanying documents must be filed in PDF or TIFF format. Documents in PDF or TIFF format must comply with the definition of these formats provided in the Administrative Instructions under the PCT, Part 7 and Annex F.2
3. The procedural action performed is reflected in an electronic document automatically generated within the submission session.
4. The document referred to in paragraph 3 requires signature in the form of a text string signature. Other forms of signature may be made available upon announcement on the EPO website or in the Official Journal of the EPO.
5. The document referred to in paragraph 3 and any accompanying documents are put into the file and made available for public file inspection in accordance with Article 128 EPC.
6. MyEPO Portfolio users can perform the following procedural actions:
- reply to a communication under Rule 71(3) EPC, including any requests for correction of bibliographic data at that stage;
- request for further processing before or after the issuance of a noting of loss of rights, following the expiry of the period for reply to a communication under Rule 71(3) EPC;
- reply to communications from the examining division in respect of requests for correction or change of the bibliographic data set out in the communication under Rule 71(3) EPC or possible inconsistencies in the translation of the claims submitted in reply to the communication under Rule 71(3) EPC;
- reply to a communication under Article 94(3) EPC;
- request for further processing before or after the issuance of a noting of loss of rights, following the expiry of the period for reply to a communication under Article 94(3) EPC;
- response to the extended European search report (Rule 70a EPC);
- request for further processing before or after the issuance of a noting of loss of rights, following the expiry of the period for reply to the extended European search report (Rule 70a EPC);
- reply to an invitation to indicate the subject-matter for search (Rules 62a or 63 EPC).
- request the correction or update of an application's bibliographic data, including rectification of the designation of an inventor pursuant to Rule 21 EPC;
- withdraw an application.
7. Additional procedural actions will be added upon announcement on the EPO website or in the Official Journal of the EPO.
8. Only documents or procedural actions relating to the procedures under paragraph 6 or announced under paragraph 7 may be filed. Other documents or procedural actions are deemed not to have been received.
9. Receipt of documents filed via MyEPO Portfolio is acknowledged electronically by the EPO following submission. The acknowledgment of receipt is provided, digitally signed by the EPO, within the submission session.
10. The provisions concerning the electronic filing of documents apply mutatis mutandis to any filing in accordance with paragraph 1.3
1. Professional representatives can notify the EPO of their withdrawal from representation or the transfer of representation to another professional representative, legal practitioner or association of professional representatives in respect of one or more European patent applications or European patents for which they are appointed.
2. A notification under paragraph 1 will be deemed to constitute communication of the termination of the representative's authorisation within the meaning of Rule 152(8) EPC.
3. Article 3, paragraphs 2 to 5 and 9, of this decision applies mutatis mutandis.
Inspection of files of applications and patents
1. The documents in the electronic file relating to European patent applications and granted patents, and to international (PCT) applications for which the EPO acts as a designated or elected Office, may be inspected via MyEPO Portfolio in accordance with Article 128(4) EPC.
2. Inspection of files relating to an unpublished European patent application is restricted to the appointed European professional representative or legal practitioner in accordance with Article 128(1) EPC and to applicants who have not appointed a professional representative or legal practitioner.
1. Users may activate email alerts to be sent to an email address specified by them when a defined event occurs.
2. Alerts can be activated for the following events:
- when a new communication is received in the user's Mailbox,
- when a new procedural action is created for the user,
- when two weeks remain before expiry of the period for performing a procedural action.
3. Email alerts are provided as a courtesy service for information only and are not considered as notifications under Rule 127 EPC. Failure to send an alert for whatever reason will have no effect on any relevant notification or time limit. Users may not invoke the omission of an alert.
1. Users as well as the EPO can upload documents to the Shared area and edit them there together in real time.
2. Uploading or editing the documents referred to in paragraph 1 is for consultation purposes only. Such documents will not be considered as having been filed with the EPO or as having been notified by the EPO.
1. Professional representatives can administer their entries on the list of professional representatives before the EPO.
2. Professional representatives can update their telecommunication details and indicate which are to be published in the searchable database on the EPO website.
Formal and technical requirements
Further formal and technical requirements are indicated in MyEPO Portfolio and in the accompanying documentation made available to users.
Existing methods of filing documents, notification and file inspection
MyEPO Portfolio is provided without prejudice to the existing methods of filing documents, electronic notification and file inspection.
Previous decisions superseded
When this decision enters into force, the decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 3 May 2023 concerning the web-based online service MyEPO Portfolio and electronic notification to the Mailbox (OJ EPO 2023, A49) will cease to have effect.
Entry into force
This decision enters into force on 1 November 2023.
Done at Munich, 9 October 2023
1 See the decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 3 May 2023 concerning the electronic filing of documents (OJ EPO 2023, A48). See also the notice from the European Patent Office dated 12 December 2016 concerning the use of smart cards by persons not resident in an EPC contracting state (OJ EPO 2017, A4).
2 See Annex F to the Administrative Instructions under the Patent Cooperation Treaty, Standard for the filing and processing in electronic form of international applications, available at wipo.int/pct/en/texts/ai/annex_f.html.
3 See, in particular, the decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 3 May 2023 concerning the electronic filing of documents (OJ EPO 2023, A48). See also the notice from the European Patent Office dated 22 October 2020 concerning the procedures and safeguards which apply under the EPC and the PCT in the event of outages of means of electronic filing and other online services (OJ EPO 2020, A120).