Where interviews and oral proceedings before an examining division are held as a videoconference, documents filed subsequently as referred to in Rule 50 may be filed by email (see the Decision of the President of the EPO dated 20 April 2012, OJ EPO 2012, 348). This does not apply to authorisations.
Where filed documents require signature, this signature may be applied to the attached document or to the text of the accompanying email. The signature must take the form of a string of characters or of a facsimile signature. The string of characters which is selected by the signatory to provide evidence of his identity and of his intent to authenticate the message in question must clearly indicate the person's name and position. A facsimile signature must be the facsimile reproduction of the person's signature.
The documents are to be sent to the email address indicated during the videoconference. Amended application documents are to be filed as attachments. Attachments containing these amended application documents must be in PDF format and must comply with the WIPO Standard for Filing and Processing in Electronic Form (Annex F). Where an attachment containing these amended application documents is not in PDF format or does not comply with the WIPO Standard or is illegible or incomplete, the examining division or the examiner must promptly inform the applicant during the videoconference. Where the deficiencies cannot be remedied during the videoconference or within the time limit set by the examining division, that document (or that part of the document which is illegible or incomplete) is deemed not to have been received.
Other attachments may be sent in any format which can be opened by the examining division or (in the case of an interview) the examiner and which can be reproduced in a legible form. Otherwise they are deemed not to have been filed.
No paper documents need be filed to confirm documents filed by email, unless the applicant is invited to supply confirmation by the examining division or the examiner during the videoconference. In response to such an invitation, confirmation is to be supplied within a period of two months. If the applicant fails to comply with this invitation in due time, the documents are deemed not to have been received.
All submissions made by email during a videoconference must be printed and annexed to the minutes of the interview or the oral proceedings, unless the exceptions under Rule 144 and the decision of the President of the EPO dated 12 July 2007 concerning documents excluded from file inspection apply (see A‑XI, 2.1 and Special edition No. 3, OJ EPO 2007, J.3). A confidentiality note which is routinely included in emails is not to be regarded as a request to exclude these submissions from the public file. It must be borne in mind that email filing does not offer the same protection against access by third parties as, for instance, EPO Online Filing.