After a European patent application has been filed, documents as referred to in Rule 50 may be filed by delivery by hand, by postal services (see A‑II, 1.1), by fax (see A‑II, 1.2) or by means of electronic communication (see A-II, 1.2). These include filing by fax (see A-II, 1.2.1) and in electronic form by means of EPO Online Filing, the EPO case management system and the EPO Web-Form Filing service (see A-II, 1.2.2A‑II, 1.3). Authorisations and priority documents are, however, excluded from filing by fax or using the EPO Web-Form Filing service. For the means of filing accepted for priority documents, see A‑III, 6.7.
The EPO Web-Form Filing service must not be used to file any documents in respect of opposition, limitation and revocation proceedings as well as appeal proceedings and proceedings for review by the Enlarged Board of Appeal (see the Decision of the President of the EPO dated 9 May 2018, OJ EPO 2018, A45).
If subsequent documents relating to European patent applications are filed by fax, written confirmation reproducing the contents of the documents filed by this means and complying with the requirements of the Implementing Regulations to the EPC must be supplied on invitation from the EPO within a period of two months from notification of that invitation. If the applicant fails to comply with this request in due time, the fax is deemed not to have been received (see the Decision of the President of the EPO dated 12 July 2007, Special edition No. 3, OJ EPO 2007, A.3).
Written confirmation is requested if the documents communicated by fax are of inferior quality.
If in a fax a party avails himself itself of Art. 14(4), the subsequent copy must be filed in the same language as the fax, in which case the copy is deemed to have been received on the date of filing of the fax. The period under Rule 6(2) for filing the translation under Art. 14(4) begins on the day following the date of filing of the fax.
Subsequent documents may not be filed on diskette or by email, telegram or similar means (see also the Notice dated 12 September 2000 concerning correspondence with the Office via email, OJ EPO 2000, 458). However, where interviews and oral proceedings before an examining division are held as a video-conference, documents filed subsequently as referred to in Rule 50 during the video-conference may be filed by email, with the exception of authorisations (for more details see the Decision of the President of the EPO dated 20 April 2012, OJ EPO 2012, 348).