1 April 2021
On 1 April 2021 the EPO launches its new web-based filing service Online Filing 2.0 . The service is accessible via the EPO's website with a smart card registered for this service.
The tool allows the filing of European patent applications, international (PCT) applications and other documents relating to such applications or to patents deriving from such applications in PDF format. International applications can also be filed in XML format. It covers all procedures before the EPO, including those before the boards of appeal.
Online Filing 2.0 incorporates and improves the features of new online filing (CMS). It offers a more user-friendly interface, as well as a dedicated entry point for filing submissions to the boards of appeal. The new service also provides a batch rights assignment functionality.
A major improvement is the integration of WIPO's ePCT service into Online Filing 2.0. This means that users can access the latest version of ePCT within Online Filing 2.0 for submissions during the international phase of PCT applications. During that phase, documents in DOCX can be transformed into XML before filing, by means of WIPO's converter, which is integrated in the Online Filing 2.0 software.
Improved search and filter functionalities allow for easy retrieval of submissions, templates and address-book entries. Dedicated buttons provide quick access to submissions in the status draft, ready to sign and ready to send. Finally, a direct link to the mailbox and a search functionality for Espacenet have been integrated.
The decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 3 March 2021 concerning the electronic filing of documents provides the legal basis for this new filing service. It replaces the previous decision on electronic filing and now covers all four filing services offered by the EPO.
The EPO intends to decommission CMS filing in the foreseeable future. Users of CMS filing are encouraged to move to Online Filing 2.0 at their earliest convenience. Users will be notified at least 6 months in advance prior to the decommissioning of CMS filing. The EPO is not planning to decommission the online filing software (eOLF) any time before 2023.
[ 1 ] This service has been tested in a pilot project. The pilot project for DOCX filings via Online Filing 2.0 will continue on and beyond 1 April 2021 (see announcement on EPO website "Continuation of the Online Filing 2.0 pilot project for DOCX filing")