Rule 21 Filing of and formal requirements for documents
Part I – Implementing Regulations to Part I of the Convention
Chapter I – General provisions
(1)2 In proceedings before the European Patent Office, documents may be filed by delivery by hand, by postal services or by means of electronic communication. The President of the European Patent Office shall lay down the details and conditions and, where appropriate, any special formal or technical requirements for the filing of documents. In particular, he may specify that confirmation must be supplied. If such confirmation is not supplied in due time, the European patent application shall be refused; documents filed subsequently shall be deemed not to have been received.
(2) Where the Convention provides that a document must be signed, the authenticity of the document may be confirmed by handwritten signature or other appropriate means the use of which has been permitted by the President of the European Patent Office. A document authenticated by such other means shall be deemed to meet the legal requirements of signature in the same way as a document bearing a handwritten signature which has been filed in paper form.
1See decision of the President of the EPO of 12.07.2007 concerning the electronic signatures, data carriers and software to be used for the electronic filing of patent applications and other documents (Special edition No. 3, OJ EPO 2007, A.5) as well as decision of the President of the EPO of 13.05.2020 concerning the filing of documents during telephone consultations and during interviews and oral proceedings held by videoconference (OJ EPO 2020, A71). See decision of the President of the EPO of 20.02.2019 concerning the filing of patent applications and other documents by facsimile (OJ EPO 2019, A18). See decision of the President of the EPO of 13.06.2019 concerning the EPO Online Filing software to be used for the electronic filing of documents (OJ EPO 2019, A64). See decisionsdecision of the President of the EPO of 03.03.2021 concerning the electronic filing of documents and priority documents (OJ EPO 2018, A45, and OJ EPO 2018, A93OJ EPO 2021, A20) and noticesnotice from the EPO of 03.03.2021 concerning the launch of EPO's new filing service Online Filing 2.0 (OJ EPO 2018, A46, and OJ EPO 2018, A94OJ EPO 2021, A21). See decision of the President of the EPO of 11.03.2015 concerning the pilot project to introduce new means of electronic communication in EPO proceedings (OJ EPO 2015, A28) and decision of the Vice-President DG5 of the EPO and notice from the EPO of 23.07.2020 concerning the pilot project on notification by email during examination proceedings (OJ EPO 2020, A89 and A90) 19.08.2021 concerning the user area pilot project (OJ EPO 2021, A64 and OJ EPO 2021, A65, OJ EPO 2021, A67).
2Amended by decision of the Administrative Council CA/D 6/14 of 15.10.2014 (OJ EPO 2015, A17), which entered into force on 01.04.2015. See noticenotices from the EPO of 30.03.2015 (OJ EPO 2015, A36), of 14.09.2020 (OJ EPO 2020, A107) and of 26.12.2020 (OJ EPO 2021, A5).