Notice from the European Patent Office dated 15 November 2018 concerning the electronic filing of priority documents
1. To date, applicants have been able to file electronic priority documents with the EPO via Online Filing (OLF). In order to further improve its online services, the EPO is now extending this option to its case management system (CMS) too.
3. As from 1 December 2018, electronic priority documents relating to European patent applications or international applications in the European phase may be filed using either OLF or CMS, provided they have been digitally signed by the issuing authority and the signature is accepted by the EPO. They must be in a document format accepted for filing via these tools. [ 3 ]
4. OLF and CMS support the filing of electronic priority documents if they are issued in a portable document format (PDF) which is in accordance with the Administrative Instructions under the PCT, Part 7 and Annex F, and if they are digitally signed.
5. The United States Patent and Trademark Office and Brazil's National Institute of Industrial Property, for instance, issue users with certified electronic priority documents with a digital signature. These documents are digitally signed by those offices for authenticity and integrity and cannot be modified without detection. They can be submitted to the EPO through OLF or CMS by attaching them to EPO Form 1001, 1200 or 1038.
6. During the international phase under the PCT, such electronic priority documents can be submitted using ePCT. [ 4 ]
8. For exceptions to the requirement that a priority document be filed, please see Rule 53(2) EPC and the decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 18 October 2018 on the filing of priority documents. [ 5 ]
9. This notice replaces the notice from the European Patent Office dated 15 September 2004 concerning the electronic filing of priority documents issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. [ 6 ]
[ 3 ] Article 9 of the decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 9 May 2018 concerning the electronic filing of documents, loc. cit.
[ 4 ] Decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 24 October 2014 concerning the filing of international applications with the EPO acting as receiving Office using ePCT filing, OJ EPO 2014, A107; notice from the European Patent Office dated 23 September 2016 concerning the online filing of subsequently filed documents under the PCT, including the demand under PCT Chapter II, OJ EPO 2016, A78.
[ 6 ] OJ EPO 2004, 562.