Constitution, maintenance and preservation of files
The European Patent Office shall constitute, maintain and preserve files relating to all European patent applications and patents in electronic form.
(1) The European Patent Office shall constitute, maintain and preserve files relating to all European patent applications and patents.
The President of the European Patent Office shall determine all necessary technical and administrative arrangements relating to the management of electronic files according to paragraph 1
(2) The President of the European Patent Office shall determine the form in which these files shall be constituted, maintained and preserved.
Documents incorporated in an electronic file shall be considered to be originals. The initial paper version of such documents shall only be destroyed after expiry of at least five years. This preservation period starts at the end of the year in which the document was incorporated in the electronic file.
(3) Documents incorporated in an electronic file shall be considered to be originals.
151 Rule 147, paragraphs 1-3, amended by decision of the Administrative Council CA/D 10/15 of 14.10.2015 (OJ EPO 2015, A83), will enter into force on 01.11.2016.
Any files shall be preserved for at least five years from the end of the year in which:
the application is refused or withdrawn or is deemed to be withdrawn;
the patent is revoked by the European Patent Office; or
the patent or the corresponding protection under Article 63, paragraph 2
, lapses in the last of the designated States.
Without prejudice to paragraph 4
, files relating to applications which have given rise to divisional applications under Article 76
or new applications under Article 61, paragraph 1(b)
, shall be preserved for at least the same period as the files relating to any one of these last applications. The same shall apply to files relating to any resulting European patents.