Decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 10 September 2014 concerning the filing of documents using the EPO web-form filing service
The President of the European Patent Office, having regard to Rule 2 EPC and Rule 89bis.1 and 2 PCT, has decided as follows:
Filing using the EPO web-form filing service
(1) European patent applications, international (PCT) applications, and other documents relating to such applications may, in accordance with this decision and without prejudice to other means of filing documents, be filed with the European Patent Office (EPO) using the EPO web-form filing service (web-form filing service) provided on its website.
(2) Access to, and use of, the web-form filing service requires prior registration on the EPO website. If abuse or unauthorised use is suspected, the EPO may cancel or refuse a user's registration.
(1) Article 1 does not apply to authorisations, to priority documents, to documents in respect of opposition, limitation and revocation proceedings (Articles 99 to 105c EPC), to documents in respect of appeal proceedings (Articles 106 to 112 EPC) or to documents in respect of proceedings for review by the Enlarged Board of Appeal of decisions of the boards of appeal (Article 112a EPC).
(2) The web-form filing service must not be used to file documents referred to in paragraph 1; if they are filed nonetheless, they will be deemed not to have been received. Their sender, if identifiable, will be notified without delay.
Sequence listings may only be filed in accordance with the provisions governing the filing of sequence listings. [ 1 ]
Specific formal requirements
Documents filed via the web-form filing service must be in PDF, in accordance with the Administrative Instructions under the PCT, Part 7 and Annex F.
(1) Where filed documents require signature, this may take the form of a facsimile signature or a text string signature.
(2) A facsimile signature is a reproduction of the filing person's signature.
(3) A text string signature is a string of characters, preceded and followed by a forward slash (/), selected by the signatory to prove his identity and his intent to sign.
Date of filing and date of receipt of documents
(1) Without prejudice to Article 76(1) EPC, the date of filing accorded to a patent application filed via the web-form filing service is the date on which the application documents thus transmitted are received at the EPO, provided these documents satisfy the requirements of Article 80 EPC and Rule 40 EPC or of Article 11(1) PCT.
(2) The date of receipt of subsequently filed documents is the date on which they are received at the EPO.
Acknowledgment of receipt
(1) Receipt of documents filed via the web-form filing service is acknowledged electronically via an acknowledgment of receipt on the website once the files are transferred; if so requested by the sender, such an acknowledgment of receipt is also sent by e-mail to the address supplied by him.
(2) The acknowledgment referred to in paragraph 1 indicates the identity of the EPO, the date and time of receipt, a reference or application number assigned by the EPO, the sender's name and e-mail address and a list of the files transferred. In order to protect the integrity of its IT systems, the EPO may, in exceptional cases, dispense with the indication of an application number in the acknowledgment of receipt referred to in paragraph 1, provided the sender is informed about the application number by other means.
(3) Acknowledgment of receipt does not imply the accordance of a date of filing.
Illegible or incomplete documents and infected files
(1) Where a filed document is illegible or incomplete, that part of it which is illegible or incomplete will be deemed not to have been received.
(2) If a filed document 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 it.
(3) Where a filed document is found to be deficient within the meaning of paragraph 1 or 2, the sender, if identifiable, will be notified without delay.
Confirmation on paper
No paper documents need be filed to confirm documents filed electronically using the web-form filing service.
Previous provisions superseded
When this decision enters into force, the conditions of use for the web-form filing service adopted in accordance with the decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 4 July 2012 concerning the pilot project to introduce new technical means of communication in EPO proceedings (OJ EPO 2012, 486) will cease to have effect.
Entry into force
This decision will enter into force on 2 October 2014.
Done at Munich, 10 September 2014
[ 1 ] Rule 30 EPC, Rule 13ter PCT, the decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 28 April 2011 on the filing of sequence listings, OJ EPO 2011, 372, and the notice from the European Patent Office dated 18 October 2013 concerning the filing of sequence listings, OJ EPO 2013, 542.