Methods for filing an application

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Chapter 1. Direct Deposit

Section 1.1. From the EPO

Patent applications may be filed directly (R2 (1) EPC) with theEuropean Patent Office (A75 (1) (a) EPC)

Although the EPO has buildings in other cities (such as Vienna), only three locations can receive patent filings (R35 (1) EPC):

  • Munich (EPO)
  • The Hague (Department of the EPO),
  • Berlin (Agency of the EPO).
The three receiving European Offices
The three receiving European Offices The three receiving European Offices

The agency Vienna or Brussels can not receive anything (Guidelines A-II 1.1).

It should be noted that the buildings in Berlin and Munich are equipped with automatic mailboxes that can be used at any time of the day or night ("Decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 3 January 2017 concerning the designation of EPO receiving offices” , OY 2017, A11).

Section 1.2. At national offices

1.2.1. Principle

TheA75 (1) (b) EPC provides that:

The European patent application may be filed:

at) [… ]
(b) where permitted by the law of a Contracting State and subject to Article 76 (1), the central industrial property office or other competent authorities of that State. Any application filed in this way shall have the same effect as if it had been lodged at the same date with the European Patent Office.

Thus, it is necessary to look in the legislation of each state to know if this is possible.

At the latest news it was possible to file a patent application in any language in all Contracting States except for (National Law on the EPC, Table II):

  • Cyprus
    • deposit only in English, German, French and Greek.
    • a Greek translation must be submitted 2 months if the description is not in Greek;
  • Greece
    • deposit in any language,
    • a Greek translation must be submitted 2 months if the description is not in Greek;
  • Spain
    • deposit only in English, German, French and Spanish,
    • a Spanish translation must be submitted at the same time if the description is not in Spanish;
  • Bulgaria
    • deposit only in English, German, French and Bulgarian;
  • Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
    • deposit only in English, German, French and Macedonian;
  • Norway
    • deposit only in English, German, French and Norwegian;
  • Italy
    • deposit in any language,
    • a translation into Italian must be submitted at the same time if the application is not in Italian, unless a priority of an application filed in Italy more than 90 days ago or if the applicant is not domiciled in Italy;
  • Portugal
    • deposit in any language,
    • a Portuguese translation must be submitted 1 month if the application is not in Portuguese, unless there is a priority of an application filed in Portugal;
  • Poland
    • deposit in any language,
    • a Polish translation must be submitted at the same time if the application is not in Polish.

1.2.2. Transmission of requests

Subject to the provisions of national defense (A77 (2) EPC), which permit the secrecy of an invention, European patent applications filed with an authorized industrial property service are transmitted to the EPO (A77 (1) EPC).

This transmission must be made in the shortest possible time compatible with the national legislation (R37 (1) EPC, Guidelines A-II 1.7). Ideally, this transmission must be done:

  • if the invention is clearly not liable to be placed under 6 weeks ;
  • if not :
    • if no priority is claimed, under 4 months ;
    • otherwise, under 14 months from this priority.

Attention, because if an application does not reach the EPO within a certain time, the request is deemed withdrawn (A77 (3) EPC and R37 (2) EPC, Guidelines A-II 1.7)

  • if no priority is claimed, within a period of 14 months from the deposit;
  • if not 14 months from the priority date.

The A121 EPC and A122 EPC are not applicable to these deadlines 14 monthsbecause it is a deadline for the national services and not a deadline for the applicant (J3 / 80).

Taxes paid are refunded upon request deemed withdrawn for this reason (R37 (2) EPC).

Chapter 2. Deposit by post

If the deposit is possible by direct delivery to a site (R2 (1) EPC), it is also possible to send it by post on this site.

This filing option is provided by the R35 (1) EPC and the R2 (1) EPC.

The postal addresses of EPO websites are available in the "Notice from the EPO dated 12 July 2007 concerning the accessibility of EPO reception desks on 12 July 2007” , OG 2007, Special Edition No. 3, A.2, paragraph 2).

The addresses of national offices or national services that may receive a deposit are indicated in the "National law relating to the EPC", Table II, column 0.

Chapter 3. Filing by fax

Section 3.1. Principle

Deposit by fax is possible.

Indeed, it is possible to file any document during the grant procedure (R2 (1) EPC together "Decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 3 January 2017 concerning the designation of EPO receiving offices” , OY 2017, A11) except for :

  • priority documents;
  • powers.

Section 3.2. Which fax?

Only faxes from the following reception desks can be used:

  • of Berlin, Munich and The Hague (“Décision du Président de l’Office européen des brevets, en date du 20 février 2019, relative au dépôt de demandes de brevet et d’autres pièces par téléfax” , OJ 2019, A18) ;
  • of the national offices authorizing ( “Décision du Président de l’Office européen des brevets, en date du 20 février 2019, relative au dépôt de demandes de brevet et d’autres pièces par téléfax” , OJ 2019, A18 ). Nous avons aujourd’hui (Directives A-II 1.2 and "National law relating to the EPC", Table II, column 5):
    • Germany (DE),
    • Austria (AT),
    • Belgium (BE),
    • Bulgaria (BG),
    • Denmark (DK),
    • Spain (ES),
    • Finland (FI),
    • France (FR),
    • Greece (GR),
    • Ireland (IE),
    • Iceland (IS),
    • Liechtenstein (LI),
    • Luxembourg (LU),
    • Monaco (MC),
    • Norway (NO),
    • Poland (PL),
    • Portugal (PT),
    • San Marino (SM),
    • the Czech Republic (CZ),
    • the United Kingdom (GB),
    • Slovakia (SK),
    • Slovenia (SI),
    • Sweden (SE),
    • Switzerland (CH).

Section 3.3. Acknowledgment of receipt

Un accusé de réception des pièces transmises est réalisé par l’Office de manière systématique et sans contrepartie financière (“Décision du Président de l’Office européen des brevets, en date du 20 février 2019, relative au dépôt de demandes de brevet et d’autres pièces par téléfax” , OJ 2019, A18).

Attention, this is not the internal acknowledgment of the modern fax systems.

Section 3.4. Written confirmation

3.4.1. European demand

There was a time when the EPO requested systematic written confirmation when sending documents by fax.

Today, this confirmation is not requested except at the express invitation of the EPO to provide this confirmation within a 2 months from the notification (in case of insufficient quality of the fax, "Décision du Président de l’Office européen des brevets, en date du 20 février 2019, relative au dépôt de demandes de brevet et d’autres pièces par téléfax” , OJ 2019, A18 and Directives A-II 1.2).

TheA121 EPC is applicable to the period of 2 months.

If the applicant does not comply with this invitation, the request is rejected ( “Décision du Président de l’Office européen des brevets, en date du 20 février 2019, relative au dépôt de demandes de brevet et d’autres pièces par téléfax” , OJ 2019, A18 ).

3.4.2. PCT application

For PCT applications, it is still necessary to transmit in one copy (A151 EPC together R157 (2) EPC) la copie papier des pièces de la demande ainsi que la requête ( “Décision du Président de l’Office européen des brevets, en date du 20 février 2019, relative au dépôt de demandes de brevet et d’autres pièces par téléfax” , OJ 2019, A18 ) .

Sur le fax, il faut indiquer que les pièces de la demande ont été transmises séparément sur papier ( “Décision du Président de l’Office européen des brevets, en date du 20 février 2019, relative au dépôt de demandes de brevet et d’autres pièces par téléfax” , OJ 2019, A18 ).

Si aucune pièce papier n’est reçue, l’OEB invite le demandeur à produire ces pièces dans un délai de 2 months.

If the applicant does not respond to this invitation, the fax is deemed not received, c’est-à-dire que la demande est deemed withdrawn (R92.4.gi PCT).

Section 3.5. Illegible fax

If the transmitted document is illegible, it is deemed not received (“Décision du Président de l’Office européen des brevets, en date du 20 février 2019, relative au dépôt de demandes de brevet et d’autres pièces par téléfax” , OJ 2019, A18).

The sender is informed promptly (Directives A-II 1.2).

Section 3.6. Special case of priority documents and powers

Priority documents or credentials can not be faxed ("Décision du Président de l’Office européen des brevets, en date du 20 février 2019, relative au dépôt de demandes de brevet et d’autres pièces par téléfax” , OJ 2019, A18).

Section 3.7. Date of receipt

The date of receipt is the date of receipt by the EPO of the complete pages of the fax (“Décision du Président de l’Office européen des brevets, en date du 20 février 2019, relative au dépôt de demandes de brevet et d’autres pièces par téléfax” , OJ 2019, A18) .

If pages are received before midnight and others after midnight, the applicant has the choice ("Décision du Président de l’Office européen des brevets, en date du 20 février 2019, relative au dépôt de demandes de brevet et d’autres pièces par téléfax” , OJ 2019, A18). He can choose:

  • to benefit from the date of the day before, but by abandoning the pages received after midnight;
  • to keep all pages, but only benefiting from the next day.

Chapter 4. Electronic filing

Section 4.1. Deposit coins

4.1.1. Principle

Electronic filing is possible since R2 (1) EPC together the "Decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 9 May 2018 concerning the electronic filing of documents” , OJ 2018, A45.

4.1.2. Possible software

This deposit can be made via ("Decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 9 May 2018 concerning the electronic filing of documents” , OJ 2018, A45):

  • EPOLINE® software;
  • CMS software on the Internet;
  • the online forms provided for this purpose;
  • an authorized data carrier ie CD-R, DVD-R or DVD + R (together "Decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 12 July 2007 concerning signatures and electronic data carriers and software for use in the electronic filing of patent applications and other documents” , OG 2007, Special Edition No. 3, A.5, art. 2);
  • another software authorized by the EPO:
    • for example, PaTrAS software is authorized for European application filings with the German office ("Notice from the European Patent Office dated 12 July 2007 concerning the electronic filing of European patent applications at the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA) ", OG 2007, Special Edition No. 3, A.6).

4.1.3. Filing with national offices

A European application filing with the national offices which authorize it is also possible ("Decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 9 May 2018 concerning the electronic filing of documents” , OJ 2018, A45, National Law on the EPC, Table II, column 5):

  • Germany (DE),
  • Denmark (DK),
  • Spain (ES),
  • Finland (FI),
  • France (FR),
  • Hungary (HU)
  • Iceland (IS),
  • the United Kingdom (GB),
  • Poland (PL),
  • Portugal (PT),
  • Slovakia (SK).

4.1.4. deposit date

The filing date is the date of receipt by the EPO of the deposit documents.

4.1.5. Acknowledgment of receipt

An acknowledgment of receipt is issued to prove which documents were filed ("Decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 9 May 2018 concerning the electronic filing of documents” , OJ 2018, A45).

4.1.6. Format to use

The formats to be used are indicated in the "Decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 12 July 2007 concerning signatures and electronic data carriers and software for use in the electronic filing of patent applications and other documents” , OG 2007, Special Edition No. 3, A.5, art. 3).

4.1.7. Paper confirmation

It is not necessary to file a paper confirmation of the documents filed.

Section 4.2. Special cases of priority documents

Priority documents can not be submitted electronically if they have not received an electronic signature from the issuing authority ("Decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 9 May 2018 concerning the electronic filing of documents” , OJ 2018, A45).

For example, priority documents certified by the USPTO using a special technique may be submitted electronically ("Notice from the European Patent Office dated 15 September 2004 concerning the electronic filing of priority documents by the United States Patent and Trademark Office” , OJ 2004, 562).

Chapter 5. Filing by telex, telegram, teletext (ie email), etc.

These types of deposits are not possible ("Décision du Président de l’Office européen des brevets, en date du 20 février 2019, relative au dépôt de demandes de brevet et d’autres pièces par téléfax” , OJ 2019, A18) .

The documents filed in this way are deemed not received (Directives A-II 1.4).

Chapter 6. Filing by means not accepted by the EPO

If the deposit is made with the EPO by any means not accepted by the EPO, there will be no assigned filing date.

However, if the deposit is made to a national Office by a means not accepted by the EPO but accepted by that Office, the filing date will be the date on which the application was filed with that authority (J20 / 84).

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