Originally published in OJ EPO 2020, A71:
Decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 13 May 2020 concerning the filing of documents during telephone consultations and during interviews and oral proceedings held by videoconference
The President of the European Patent Office,
having regard to Rule 2 EPC,
having regard to the organisational autonomy of the Boards of Appeal, and to a request by the President of the Boards of Appeal that this decision be applicable to appeal proceedings,
has decided as follows:
Admissibility of filing by email during telephone consultations, interviews and videoconferences
(1) During telephone consultations and during interviews and oral proceedings held by videoconference, documents filed subsequently as referred to in Rule 50 EPC, including authorisations, must be filed by email.
(2) The present decision applies only to the filing of documents during telephone consultations and during interviews and oral proceedings held by videoconference.
(1) Where the filed documents require signature, this signature may be applied to the attached document or to the text of the accompanying email.
(2) The signature may take the form of a string of characters or a facsimile signature.
(3) The string of characters selected by the signatory to provide evidence of their identity and their intent to authenticate the message in question must clearly indicate the person's name and position.
(4) A facsimile signature is the facsimile reproduction of a person's signature.
(1) In examination proceedings, documents must be sent to the email address indicated by the examining division or the member conducting the telephone consultation or interview.
(2) In opposition proceedings, documents must be sent to the email address indicated by the opposition division and, where possible, to the email addresses indicated by the other parties.
(3) In appeal proceedings, documents must be sent to the email address indicated by the board of appeal. Where applicable, they must also be sent to the email addresses indicated by the other parties.
(1) Amended application or patent documents must be filed as attachments.
(2) Attachments containing such amended documents must be in PDF format and must comply with the WIPO Standard for Filing and Processing in Electronic Form (Annex F).
(3) Where an attachment containing such amended documents does not comply with paragraph (2) or is illegible or incomplete, the EPO will inform the party immediately. Where the deficiencies cannot be remedied during the telephone consultation or videoconference or within the time limit set by the EPO, the document or the part thereof that is illegible or incomplete will be deemed not to have been received.
(4) Other attachments may be sent in any format which can be opened by the EPO and which can be reproduced in a legible form. Otherwise they will be deemed not to have been received.
(5) If an attachment is infected with a computer virus or contains other malicious software, it will be deemed to be illegible. The EPO is not obliged to receive, open or process any such attachment.
Confirmation on paper
Paper confirmation of documents filed by email in accordance with this decision is not required.
Integrity of the file
Submissions filed by email will be made available for file inspection in accordance with Article 128 EPC. The confidentiality notice which is routinely included in some emails will not be regarded as a request to exclude these submissions from file inspection.
The decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 20 April 2012 concerning the filing of documents by e-mail during interviews and oral proceedings held as a video-conference (OJ EPO 2012, 348) is hereby repealed.
Entry into force
This decision will enter into force on 14 May 2020.
Done at Munich, 13 May 2020