FAQ - Mailbox








What is the Mailbox?

The Mailbox is a single point of delivery for electronic communications from the EPO. It is a company-based service, which means that items sent to a company's Mailbox are not delivered direct to individuals within the company. Anyone in the company who has a smart card can access the Mailbox.

Who can have a Mailbox?

A Mailbox is created when a new user enrols for a smart card. The Mailbox is associated with the company name indicated by the user on the smart card enrolment form. It belongs to the company and not the person.

How does it work?

The Mailbox provides you with access to an inbox where you can receive mail items with links to PDF versions of communications from the EPO. The mail items are sent to professional representatives registered with the EPO or to what are known as associations of representatives.

How can we start using our company Mailbox?

To use the Mailbox, you need a smart card. Your company administrator must then give you access to the Mailbox, and one or more associates must be defined and approved by the EPO. These associates must then be activated as mail recipients by the administrator. The sequence of events is as follows:

  1. Administrator activates the Mailbox and adds associates
  2. Status of associates is checked by the EPO
  3. Administrator activates associates (provided status is acceptable) and authorises selected smart card holder(s) to access the Mailbox

Are the Mailbox and My Files linked to one another?

Yes. For an associate to be able to access My Files, the Mailbox must be turned on and the associate must click on Send electronic mail to company mailbox.

Where do I find the Mailbox?

The Mailbox is one of the EPO portal services together with Online Fee Payment and My Files. To access the Mailbox, click the “Mailbox” or “Administration” tab and log in to the EPO webpage using your smart card.

What do I need to do to use the Mailbox?

To use the Mailbox it is important to:

  • register for a smart card
  • accept the role of “company administrator”
  • as company administrator, assign the right to access the Mailbox to users (any smart card holders)
  • define associates (professional representatives or associations) and activate them
  • define other users as company administrators

What is a “user”?

A “user” is defined as being any smart card holder who has access to the Mailbox and can view and download communications and administer the inbox (e.g. create/delete folders or move items from folder to folder).

What is an “associate”?

Mailbox associates are the recipients of electronic communications sent to the Mailbox via the EPO. These can only be professional representatives or associations. Associates do not need to own a smart card in order to receive electronic communications sent to the Mailbox.

What is an association number?

This is the number under which an association of professional representatives acting before the EPO is registered with the EPO’s Legal Division.

All EPO communications will be notified to the association and its registered address or address for correspondence.

What is a company administrator?

The company administrator can be anyone in the company who owns a smart card and has accepted the role of “company administrator”.

If a company does not have an administrator, any smart card holder in that company who logs in to the portal will be invited to become the administrator. This invitation will continue to appear until one of the smart card holders accepts it.


What is the role of the company administrator?

The company administrator is the user responsible for defining user access to Online Fee Payment, the Mailbox and My Files. The company administrator can assign administrator rights to other smart card holders within your company, or revoke them.

Who is responsible for keeping the list of Mailbox users and associates up to date?

The company administrator is responsible for keeping the list of users and associates up to date.

Any change to user/associate (professional representative) contact details, i.e. change of name/address of office, should be notified either to support@epo.org or via the contact form.

What does a company administrator do?

A company administrator can:

  • nominate other company administrators
  • turn the company mailbox on and off
  • give other users access to the company mailbox
  • provide the EPO with a list of registered representatives wishing to receive communications via the Mailbox
  • set the intervals at which the Mailbox trash is emptied
  • give other users the right to view the company deposit account, pay fees and view the fee payment plan

What obligations does a company administrator have vis-à-vis the EPO?

Your company administrator must inform the EPO of any changes to the list of associates in your company. Any change to user/associate (professional representative) contact details, i.e. change of name/address of office, should be notified either to support@epo.org or via the contact form.

Should an associate no longer wish to receive communications via the Mailbox, your company administrator must delete that person from the list of associates in to the administration tab.

Can company administrators revoke their own administration rights?

No, this can only be done by another smart card holder who is also a company administrator.

How can I give other users access rights?

Refer to the FAQs for Administration

What do I do if I want to add an associate?

Refer to the FAQs for Administration

What should I do if an associate needs to be removed?

Refer to the FAQs for Administration


Who can use the Mailbox and who can receive communications?

Anyone who has a smart card (i.e. a user) and who has been given access by their company administrator can access the company Mailbox and read all communications. Associates (i.e. professional representatives) can "receive" communications. That is, communications addressed to them are sent via the Mailbox.

Can mail items be forwarded from the Mailbox?

No, you cannot forward items from the Mailbox. If you wish to forward an item, you must download it to your own computer and send it as an attachment using your own mail system, or put it on a shared drive.

Can I reply to the EPO from the Mailbox?

No, you cannot reply to the EPO via the Mailbox. The current version of the Mailbox allows only one-way communication, from the EPO to the user.

What happens if a mail item sent via the Mailbox is not opened?

Regardless of whether a mail item has been opened or not, a mail item sent to the Mailbox is deemed to have been notified on the tenth day after transmission of the electronic communication to the Mailbox, unless the communication arrives later or not at all. See Decision of the Administrative Council dated 15 October 2014

Which communications can currently be received via the Mailbox?

The list of communications currently made available via the Mailbox is published on the EPO website:

Which communications cannot be received by the Mailbox?

  • Communications relating to opposition and appeals procedures
  • Communications relating to the international (PCT) procedures other than international search reports
  • Communications not on the list indicated above

These communications will continue to be sent by post until further notice.

Our company consists of several legal entities. Can we have more than one Mailbox?

Each Mailbox is defined by its company name. If your company has several legal entities within the same country or in different countries, you can have more than one Mailbox by indicating different company names on individual smart card enrolment forms, e.g. "EPO The Hague", "EPO Munich", "EPO Berlin" and "EPO Vienna".

If I choose to receive my mail in electronic form, will I still get a paper copy as well?

No. Once your administrator has activated your company Mailbox and authorised your access to it, you will be sent electronic communications instead of paper ones. If an item of mail is sent electronically, it is not also sent by post.

Is it possible to recover mail from trash in the Mailbox?

The administrator can choose to set the trash to be emptied once a day, once a week, once every four weeks or once every twelve weeks. Thus, depending on the setting chosen you can recover communications from trash for up to a maximum of twelve weeks.

I have selected German as my language preference. The interface is in German as you would expect, but the mail item descriptions are in English? Why is this?

The mail item descriptions are displayed in the procedural language of the file.

Do I receive a mail notification when a new electronic item arrives in my company mailbox?

No. The mailbox does not offer this service. It does not have a mail notification feature, so mailbox users need to access the tool regularly to check if new electronic items have arrived.

Can I be associated with more than one Mailbox?

No. You can only be associated with one Mailbox.

I’m associated with company mailbox A and would also like to be associated with company mailbox B . How do I do that?

It’s not possible. You only can be associated with one Mailbox. If you are already linked as an associate to company mailbox A, all your EPO electronic communications are sent to company mailbox A, even communications relating to company B.

Can I receive electronic communications in several mailboxes?

No. You can only be associated with one mailbox. All EPO electronic communications relating to you as professional representative will be sent to the mailbox with which you are associated, including communications relating to other companies.

I’m a new professional representative in my company and would like to start using the company mailbox. What do I do?

You need to contact your “company administrator” and request to be granted access to the company mailbox.

What should I do if I want to be removed as a Mailbox associate?

You need to inform your company administrator, who will be able to remove you from the list of associates of your company mailbox.


I cannot view the PDF documents listed in the Mailbox folders. Is this something to do with my browser?

EPO online services products have been tested for use with all commonly used browsers, but you should ensure that pop-up windows from www.epoline.org are not blocked (note: some browsers block pop-ups by default when they are installed).

I cannot find the Mailbox tab. What should I do?

The Mailbox can only be accessed if you have a smart card. Are you logged in with a smart card? If you are, your company administrator needs to give you access rights using the administration function.

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