3.
Use of email 

At present, email is an admissible filing means only for the submission of subsequently filed documents as referred to in Rule 50 EPC during consultations and during oral proceedings held by videoconference (for details, in particular on signature and format of attachments, see the Decision of the President of the EPO dated 13 May 2020, OJ EPO 2020, A71 and E‑III, 8.5.2).

Other than in the above-mentioned cases, email has no legal effect in proceedings under the EPC and thus cannot be used to validly perform any procedural act and, in particular, cannot be used to comply with time limits (see OJ EPO 2000, 458 and A‑VIII, 2.5). If, for instance, shortly before oral proceedings, the applicant would like to submit new requests and/or amended documents, this should be done by electronic filing or fax. Experience shows that documents submitted via electronic filing are normally visible in the electronic file on the same day.

Examples of cases where exchanges by email may be useful are:

(i)
arranging a date for a consultation 
(ii)
if during a consultation possible amendments to claims are being discussed the applicant might want to communicate these immediately without submitting them formally 
(iii)
shortly before oral proceedings: sending an electronic copy of amended claims in addition to the official submission made e.g. by fax; this would ensure that the examining division gets the documents well in time for preparation of the oral proceedings. 

Emails cannot replace an official communication under Art. 94(3).

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