Signed authorisation 

Representatives acting before the EPO must on request file a signed authorisation (see A‑VIII, 3.2) within a two-month period specified by the EPO (see E‑VIII, 1.6). Both individual and general authorisations within the meaning of Rule 152(4) serve the same purpose. For general authorisations, the indication of the registration number is equivalent to the filing of the authorisation itself. The filing of an authorisation is distinct from the appointment of a representative for a specific case. If the requirements of Art. 133(2) are not fulfilled, the same period will be specified for the communication of the appointment and, where applicable, for the filing of the authorisation.

Professional representatives who identify themselves as such will be required to file a signed authorisation only in certain cases, in particular if there is a change of representative (see Art. 1(2) of the Decision of the President of the EPO dated 12 July 2007, Special edition No. 3, OJ EPO 2007, L.1). No authorisation is required where a professional representative other than the appointed one (and not being a member of the same association or law firm) performs a procedural act on behalf of a party to proceedings, e.g. filing a reply to the communication under Rule 71(3), provided that it is apparent from the submission that the professional representative is acting at the request of that party without the intention to take over representation. In case of doubt as to a professional representative's entitlement to act on behalf of a party, the EPO may require the filing of an authorisation (see Art. 1(3) of the above-mentioned decision).

However, a legal practitioner entitled to act as a professional representative in accordance with Art. 134(8) or an employee acting for an applicant in accordance with Art. 133(3), first sentence, but who is not a professional representative, must always file a signed authorisation (see Art. 2 and Art. 3 of the above-mentioned decision) to be in a position to validly perform procedural acts. In Euro-PCT proceedings, persons representing clients in these capacities are not required to file signed authorisations if they have already filed an authorisation expressly covering proceedings established by the EPC with the EPO as receiving Office, ISA or IPEA. Where a representative is appointed to act on behalf of the applicant in several of that party's applications, it is not necessary to file an individual authorisation for each application (see A‑VIII, 2.4). A clear indication of the applications concerned is sufficient; the EPO will make sure that a copy of the authorisation is included in all of the files concerned.

The authorisation can also be filed by the applicant. This also applies where the applicant is obliged to be represented, as fulfilling the requirement to be represented is not itself a procedural step under Art. 133(2) to which the rule of obligatory representation applies.

An association of representatives can be authorised to represent a party before the EPO within the meaning of Art. 134(1) (Rule 152(11)). A party appointing several representatives can authorise them collectively as an association instead of having to authorise each of them singly individually, provided that the association in question is registered with the EPO (OJ EPO 2013, 535). Where invited to file an authorisation by way of an exception, a reference to that registration number in the authorisation will suffice.

An authorisation remains in force until its termination is communicated to the EPO. Transfer of representation or termination of authorisation can, subject to certain conditions, be effected electronically by the representative using the My Files service (see the Decision of the President of the EPO dated 26 April 2012, OJ EPO 2012, 352). The authorisation will not terminate upon the death of the person who gave it unless the authorisation provides to the contrary (Rule 152(9).

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