FAQ - Mailbox


What is the Mailbox?

The Mailbox is a single point of delivery for electronic communications from the EPO to a professional representative, legal practitioners (Art.134(8) EPC, or applicant who have their residence or place of business in an EPC Contracting state. It is a company-based service, which means that communications are delivered to a company's mailbox, not to individuals within the company. Anyone in the company who has a smart card, and has been authorised by the company administrator, can access the mailbox.

Who can have a Mailbox?

A mailbox is automatically created when someone from a company without a mailbox enrols for a smart card. The mailbox is created for the company indicated on the smart card enrolment form. It belongs to the company and not the person. Professional representatives, legal practitioners (Art.134(8) EPC, or applicants who have their residence or place of business in an EPC Contracting state can then be added as the recipients of electronic communications in it.

How does it work?

The Mailbox is an inbox to which the EPO can send PDF versions of communications to professional representatives, legal practitioners (Art.134(8) EPC, or applicants who have their residence or place of business in an EPC Contracting state. When the EPO sends a communication, it checks, if the Mailbox is active for the associated file.

How can we start using our company Mailbox?

To use the Mailbox, professional representatives or associations of them, the legal practitioner or applicant, first have to be added as associates. (Registering as an association can make using the Mailbox easier).

To add an associate, the company administrator has to:

  • log in to the Mailbox
  • under the "Administration" tab, go to "Associates" and then select "Add"


  • enter the name of the professional representative as in the example below; for associations, enter the company name as the first name and the association number as the last name. For legal practitioners or applicants, please contact support@epo.org, we will then assist you with setting up the mailbox.


  • select "Accept"

The EPO receives a request to add the associate, which it accepts or rejects. The company administrator then gets an alert.

If the EPO accepts the request, the administrator then has to:

  • under "Administration", go to the "Associates" tab
  • select the user with the status "Resolved" and then "Edit"
  • check the "Send electronic mail to company mailbox" box and select "Accept"

From then on, the Mailbox is enabled for the associate and any communications for their files will go straight there - provided they are on the list of communications available via the Mailbox.

When a professional representative logs in with their smart card, they will also have access to My Files, where they can access their unpublished applications (or those of their association) and manage representation for their files. The MyFiles functionality is only available to professional representatives.

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". The My Files functionality is only available for professional representatives.

Where can I find the Mailbox?

Go to the Mailbox web page and log in using your smart card.

What is a user?

A user is any smart card holder within a company 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. They can be professional representatives, associations, legal practitioners, or applicants. Associates (if they are a natural person) do not need to own a smart card in order to receive electronic communications sent to the Mailbox, but must have access to one to read them.

What is an association number?

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

All EPO communications will be notified to the association at 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.

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 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
  • add associates wishing to receive communications via the Mailbox as associates, subject to a check by the EPO
  • 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 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 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?

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". You can only assign a professional representative, association, legal practitioner or applicant to one mailbox, and you can only access one mailbox with one smart card.

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 12 weeks. Thus, depending on the setting chosen, you can recover communications from trash for up to a maximum of 12 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?

You can't. You can only 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 a 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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