A. FILING OF EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATIONS AND OTHER DOCUMENTS
A.2 Electronic filing
Decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 11 March 2015 concerning the filing of documents using the EPO case management system
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 case management system
(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 case management system (CMS) provided on its website.
(2) Access to, and use of, the CMS requires a smart card issued or accepted by the EPO and registered for using the CMS.
(1) Article 1 does not apply to priority documents.
(2) The CMS 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 CMS must be filed 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 CMS 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 CMS is acknowledged electronically by the EPO via an acknowledgment of receipt in the CMS.
(2) Where such acknowledgment is not successfully transmitted, the EPO will transmit it by other means without delay, provided it has sufficient information to do so.
(3) The acknowledgment indicates the identity of the EPO, the date and time of receipt, a reference or application number assigned by the EPO, a list of the files transferred, and a hash value (the message digest).
(4) 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 CMS.
Previous decisions superseded
When this decision enters into force, the decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 10 September 2014 concerning the filing of documents using the EPO case management system (OJ EPO 2014, A97) will cease to have effect.
Entry into force
This decision will enter into force on 1 April 2015.
Done at Munich, 11 March 2015
1 Rule 30 EPC, Rule 13ter PCT, decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 28 April 2011 on the filing of sequence listings, OJ EPO 2011, 372, and notice from the European Patent Office dated 18 October 2013 concerning the filing of sequence listings, OJ EPO 2013, 542.