OJ EPO 2020, A45 - Definition of "DOCX" under Article 4 of the decision of the Vice-President Legal and International Affairs of the European Patent Office (Directorate-General 5) dated 21 April 2020 concerning the conditions for participating [..]

Full title: OJ EPO 2020, A45 - Definition of "DOCX" under Article 4 of the decision of the Vice-President Legal and International Affairs of the European Patent Office (Directorate-General 5) dated 21 April 2020 concerning the conditions for participating in the pilot project for Online Filing 2.0

Office Open XML (DOCX OOXML)

All documents in Office Open XML format (DOCX OOXML), which are represented by the file extension ".docx", must conform to the DOCX mark-up strict variant of OOXML specified in the "word processing" category of ISO/IEC 29500-1:2008. In addition, valid DOCX OOXML documents must fulfil the requirements laid down below.

1. Application document

All documents in DOCX OOXML format must meet the following requirements:

(a) Be in the format Office Open XML marked up according to the strict variant of OOXML for the category "word processing" (ISO/IEC 29500-1:2008);

(b) DOCX file must not be encrypted;

(c) Page size must be either letter or A4;

(d) In accordance with Rule 49(8) EPC, the font size 11 is recommended for plain text within the application document;

(e) The headings and sections within the application document should adhere to the Common Application Format (CAF) standard (see wipo.int/pct/en/filing/caf.html) and use a paragraph style that adheres to the Office Open XML naming standards, as follows:

  • Titles of the main sections of the application as specified in "Application headings and sections" below
  • Description sub-sections as specified in "Application headings and sections" below
  • Claim lists as specified in "Application headings and sections" below
  • Figure lists as specified in "Application headings and sections" below
  • Reference numbers
  • Patent and non-patent citations
  • Bio-deposit
  • Citation list;

(f) No hidden text;

(g) No annotations (e.g. comments, ink annotations, etc.);

(h) No tracked changes;

(i) The following OLE objects are supported:

  • ChemDraw.Document.6.0
  • MDLDrawOLE.MDLDrawObject.1
  • ISISServer
  • Equation.3
  • Enhance.Map
  • Visio.Drawing.11
  • Equation.DSMT4
  • ChemWindow.Document
  • Origin50.Graph
  • PatXML.Image
  • Prism6.Document
  • ACD.ChemSketch.20
  • Visio.Drawing.15
  • Prism5.Document
  • ChemDraw.Document.4.5
  • SolidEdge.DraftDocument
  • Word.Picture.8;

(j) Embedded images must be in TIFF, JPEG (JFIF) or PNG format;

(k) Maximum allowable size for a single embedded image is 1 Mb;

(l) No automatic updating of bookmarked or cross-referenced content, i.e. it is retrieved as submitted;

(m) No text extraction from headers and footers;

(n) No watermarks;

(o) No content controls;

(p) Typographical text highlighting effects are limited to the ones defined in the "application-body.dtd" (Appendix I of the Annex F to the Administrative Instructions under the PCT) (e.g. underlining, bold, italic, etc.);

(q) All text in the document must be typed using the following supported Unicode fonts:

  • Arial
  • Arial Black
  • Arial Narrow
  • Arial Rounded MT Bold
  • Arial Unicode MR Regular
  • Batang
  • Calibri
  • Cambria
  • Cambria Math
  • Courier New
  • Courier Regular
  • Georgia
  • MS Mincho
  • PMingLiU
  • SimSun
  • Symbol
  • Tahoma
  • Times New Roman
  • Trebuchet MS
  • Verdana

(r) No duplication of application headings;

(s) No hyperlinks.

2. Application headings and sections

Headings and sections are used to divide the application body into different subject parts. The headings are defined as main sections (abstract, description, claims, drawings). The headings and sections of the application, including the order in which they appear, should follow the CAF guidelines (see example at wipo.int/pct/en/filing/caf_example.html). For an application written in English, the following applies:

2.1 Headings of the application body:

  • Description
  • Claims (mandatory)
  • Abstract (mandatory)
  • Drawings (where applicable)

Each heading of the application body (description, claim, abstract and drawings) must be at the top of a new page, separated either in a new section (page break) or separated by a page break, both functionalities being available in DOCX OOXML format.

2.2 Sections and sub-sections in a description (recommended):

  • Title of invention or Title
  • Technical field or Field
  • Background art or Background
  • Summary of invention or Summary

     – Technical problem

     – Solution to problem

     – Advantageous effects of invention

  • (Brief description of drawings)
  • Description of embodiments

     – Examples

  • Industrial applicability
  • Reference signs list
  • Reference to deposited biological material
  • (Sequence-listing free text)
  • Citation list

     – Patent literature

     – Non-patent literature

2.3 Numbering of claims

The set of claims must be numbered sequentially. It is recommended to use the automatic numbering function of the DOCX editor. If the claims are numbered manually, one of the following two formats should be used:

Claim 1.

Claim 2.

to Claim N.


[Claim 1]

[Claim 2]


[Claim N]

2.4 Drawings

Drawings (mandatory where drawings are present in the application):

The figures must be listed in numbered sequence, as follows:

Fig. 1

Fig. 2


Fig. N


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EPC Implementing Rules