An authorisation may cover more than one application or patent. Also, a general authorisation enabling a representative to act in respect of all the patent transactions of the party making the authorisation may be filed. A corresponding procedure applies to the withdrawal of an authorisation.
However, the filing of a general authorisation is distinct from the appointment of a representative for a specific case. The party granting a general authorisation is not bound to appoint one of the representatives listed therein in any specific procedure before the EPO. Nor does a general authorisation allow the EPO to assume, without any additional information, that a person listed therein should be appointed as a representative in a specific case (see J 17/98). Therefore, in a specific case, a party wishing to appoint the representative(s) listed in a general authorisation must notify the EPO accordingly by referring to the general authorisation number already registered.