How will the EPO check the identity of the parties to the proceedings?

As a rule, only one representative/authorised employee per party has to have their ID document checked unless that person is personally known to at least one member of the division (see GL E‑III, 8.3.1). For other representatives, authorised employees and accompanying persons present for a given party, it is generally sufficient that their identity be confirmed orally by the representative/employee whose ID document was checked or who is personally known to at least one member of the division. This applies independently of whether a representative is a professional representative or a legal practitioner.

The division will continue to systematically check the ID documents of all parties, witnesses and experts summoned to give evidence before the EPO.

The proof of identity should take the form of a national ID card, a passport or an EPO badge.

The identity document may be presented in one of the following ways:

  • In the case of an EPO badge, by showing it to the camera at the beginning of the VICO, or
  • In the case of an ID card or a passport:
    • if only one representative or party is attending the videoconference, by showing it to the camera, or
    • if there is more than one representative or party, by showing it in a separate, private VICO session specifically for this purpose, or
  • By emailing a copy to the address provided to the parties at the beginning of the oral proceedings, or
  • Via the EPO online filing options no later than two days prior to the oral proceedings. Visit our online filing webpage for more information on electronic filing options.

In order for the division to be able to confirm the identity of the person concerned, the full name (first name and surname) and the picture of the ID should be visible. All the other information on the identification document can be kept hidden if so wished, as long as it is possible to recognise that it is an official identification document. For data protection reasons, copies of identification documents sent by email are deleted and are not included in the file. Copies submitted via online filing are put in the non-public part of the file.

Showing EPO badges to the camera or submitting copies of identity documents via EPO online filing options is encouraged to save time during the ID check at the beginning of the proceedings. Note that EPO badges can be requested online. The identity of the person concerned is then verified by means of a video call (see OJ EPO 2021, A79, for further information).