Notice from the European Patent Office dated 15 September 2004 concerning the electronic filing of priority documents issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office
1. With effect from 3 September 2004, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has been providing certified copies of US patent applications either in paper form or as electronic files, with an imaged certification statement included as part of a digitally-signed PDF (portable document format) file containing TIFF (tag image file format) images of the document's pages.
These electronic files can be downloaded by applicants from the USPTO website or provided by the USPTO on CD. The electronic files are digitally signed by the USPTO for authenticity and integrity, and cannot be modified without detection.
2. The European Patent Office (EPO) will accept these electronic documents digitally signed by the USPTO as priority documents within the meaning of Rule 38(3) EPC.
2.1 The digitally-signed certified copy of a US patent application and the corresponding certification statement can be submitted to the EPO either by attaching them to an online submission of Form 1001, 1200 or 10381 or by submitting them on a CD.
2.2 The EPO will not accept a paper printout of these electronic documents as a priority document.
3. A notice concerning the submission of electronic priority documents to the EPO acting as receiving Office under the PCT will follow at a later stage.
4. This notice replaces the notice from the EPO dated 28 August 2004 concerning the electronic filing of priority documents issued by the USPTO.
1 This applies notwithstanding point 1 of the notice from the European Patent Office dated 3 December 2003 concerning the electronic filing of documents within the meaning of Rule 36 EPC (OJ EPO 2003, 609).