OJ EPO 2012, 22 - Notice from the European Patent Office dated 13 December 2011 concerning EPO online services

The European Patent Office (EPO) has now extended its online services, espe- cially the Mailbox functionality available on its website (www.epo.org).

To optimise these services for all users, professional representatives should make sure that all data relating to them and their clients is up to date at all times. Electronic notifications will be sent to the appointed professional representative according to our records.

EPO online services can be accessed in a secure environment by logging on with a smart card or, in the case of Register Alert, with a self-defined username and password.

Smart cards can be obtained free of charge from the EPO using the enrol- ment tool on the EPO website under online services.

The Administration facility allows you to specify which of your staff can access the online fee payment and Mailbox services.

1. MyFiles 1.1 MyFiles automatically compiles filter folders for professional representatives' own published and unpublished files. It also allows them to compile a portfolio of folders containing their favourite files.

1.2 MyFiles enables filter folders to be organised, searched and sorted by date, title, IPC, etc.

1.3 In addition, a hyperlink to the online European Patent Register provides access to bibliographic and procedural data.

2. Mailbox 2.1 Smart-card holders whose names appear on the list of professional repre- sentatives maintained by the EPO (Article 134(1) EPC) and who have activated their Mailbox can receive notifications by technical means of communication (electronic notification).

2.2 The old EPO Mailbox service was deactivated on 7 December 2011. Mailbox administrators were informed, and invited to join the test phase in the first quarter of 2012 1. The new service was introduced on 15 December 2011 for this test phase, to be carried out by an initial group of users drawn from both private practice and industry.

2.3 The new service will introduce electronic notification for the extended European search report pursuant to Rule 62 EPC i.e. the European or partial European search report (Article 92 and Rules 61 and 63 EPC) plus the European search opinion or the declaration of no search (Rule 63 EPC) in all pending European patent applications.

2.4 In addition, the EPO will notify elec- tronically the international search report together with the written opinion.

2.5 The electronic notification service will be improved incrementally to include further (formal) communications. The list of communications involved will be made available to test-participants and the general public on the EPO online services website.

Successful initial testing will result in the list of communications notified electroni- cally increasing to include examiner communications and the intention to grant.

2.6 No paper copies will be notified in parallel.

1 By notifying support@epo.org accordingly.

3. Register Alert Register Alert is a monitoring tool enabling users to receive automatic e-mail alerts of changes in the online European Patent Register. Users can set up a secure Register Alert account and access it with their own unique contact details.

4. Entry into force, previous notices superseded With effect from its entry into force on 15 December 2011, the present EPO notice supersedes that dated 9 December 2003 concerning the My.epoline portal (OJ EPO 2004, 61).

References: ar134; ar92;

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