European Patent Register and Public Inspection

Chapter 1. European Patent Register

Section 1.1. languages

BWR registrations are made in the three official languages of the EPO (A14 (8) EPC) even if the inscription in the language of the proceedings is authentic.

Section 1.2. Skill

The Legal Division is competent for all decisions relating to registration in the REB (A20 (1) EPC).

Section 1.3. REB registration

The following information is entered in the REB (A127 EPC together R143 (1) EPC):

  • the number of the European patent application (R143 (1) (a) EPC);
  • the date of filing of the application (R143 (1) (b) EPC);
  • the title of the invention (R143 (1) (c) EPC);
  • classification of the application (R143 (1) (d) EPC);
  • designated Contracting States (R143 (1) (e) EPC);
  • designation :
  • the indications relating to the priority (R143 (1) (i) EPC);
  • the number of divisional applications (if applicable) (R143 (1) (j) EPC);
  • in the case of a divisional application or a new application filed in accordance withA61 (1) (b) EPC, with respect to the earlier application (R143 (1) (k) EPC):
    • the number of the European patent application;
    • the filing date of the application;
    • the indications relating to the priority;
  • the date of publication (R143 (1) (l) EPC):
    • demand and
    • the European search report;
  • the date of submission of the request for examination (R143 (1) (m) EPC);
  • the date on which the application is rejected, withdrawn or deemed withdrawn (R143 (1) (n) EPC);
  • the date of publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent (R143 (1) (o) EPC);
  • the date of the lapse of the European patent in a Contracting State (R143 (1) (p) EPC):
    • during the opposition period and
    • if necessary, until the opposition decision has become res judicata;
  • the date of filing of the notice of opposition (R143 (1) (q) EPC);
  • the date and nature of the decision on the opposition (R143 (1) (r) EPC);
  • the dates of the suspension and resumption of the procedure (R143 (1) (s) EPC);
  • the dates of the interruption and resumption of the procedure (R143 (1) (t) EPC);
  • the date of reinstatement in a right, provided that a notation has been registered under letters n) or r) (ie revocation of a patent in opposition or application dismissed, withdrawn or deemed withdrawn, R143 (1) u) EPC);
  • the submission of a request for conversion (R143 (1) (v) EPC);
  • the establishment of rights in the application or the European patent and the transfer of those rights (if the registration is provided for in the Implementing Regulation, R143 (1) w) EPC);
  • the date and nature of the decision on the application for limitation or revocation of the European patent (R143 (1) (x) EPC);
  • the date and nature of the decision of the Enlarged Board of Appeal on the request for review (R143 (1) (t) EPC).

In addition, there are other registrations foreseen by the President of the EPO (R143 (2) EPC together " Decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 15 July 2014 concerning the entries in the Register of European Patents », OY 2014, A86):

  • the fact, if any, that there was no opposition formed,
  • the possible date of correction of the patent specification,
  • the date of dispatch of a supplementary European search report,
  • the date of dispatch of the first notification from the examiner,
  • the date of receipt of the request for recovery in a right (restitutio in integrum),
  • the rejection of the request for recovery in a right (restitutio in integrum),
  • designation :
    • of the opponent,
    • the representative of the opponent,
  • the list of new documents discovered after the establishment of the TPP,
  • for PCT applications for which the EPO is the designated Office:
    • the international deposit number,
    • the international publication number, and
    • the date of international publication.
  • the date on which a request for limitation or revocation of the European patent was made,
  • the designation of the applicant making the request for limitation or revocation,
  • the date on which an application for review by the Enlarged Board of Appeal was made,
  • the designation of the applicant making the request for review,
  • the number of the request for review,
  • the date on which a divisional application is rejected, withdrawn or deemed to be withdrawn, if this results in the publication of the latter,
  • the date of dispatch of the first notification from the Examining Division relating to the earliest application (if issued before 1 April 2014),
  • date of dispatch of a notification from the Examining Division to which the search results under Rule 164 (2) EPC are attached.

Section 1.4. End of the registration option

Entries are possible until the end of the opposition period or until the end of the opposition procedure (Directives A-XI 4).

Nevertheless, there are some exceptions:

  • if a request for limitation / revocation is submitted, registrations are possible during this procedure, until its closure;
  • the rectification of an inventor can be done at any time (Directives A-XI 4).

Section 1.5. Time of registration

If the registration relates to a decision subject to appeal, it is registered in the REB only at the end of the appeal period, or in the case of appeal, only at the decision of appeal (Directives E-XII 1).

Section 1.6. REB consultation

Extracts from the BAN may be requested in return for an administration fee (A3 (1) RRT together the " Schedule of taxes and fees », supplement to OJ 3/2012 point 2.1.5): 40 €.

Nevertheless, other means of access are possible and free:

  • Register Plus (website, it contains more information than the register, " Notice from the European Patent Office dated 15 August 2006 concerning the procedures for public inspection and on-line consultation of the European Patent Register », OJ 2006, 535);
  • On-site consultation at the Munich office, via terminals made available to the public;
  • By telephone at the offices in Munich, The Hague, Berlin, or Vienna (Directives A-XI 4).

Chapter 2. Public Inspection

Section 2.1. Opening to the public inspection

2.1.1. Principle

The file is open for public inspection from the publication of the patent application (A128 (4) EPC).

2.1.2. Consultation before the publication of the application

1) By the applicant

The applicant can consult a file before publication (A128 (1) EPC).

This consultation is possible online via the MailBox function (" Notice from the European Patent Office dated 13 December 2011 concerning the EPO Online Services », OG 2012, 22 and Directives A-XI 2.5)

2) By a third party

A third party can access a folder:

  • if the applicant agrees (A128 (1) EPC), or
  • if the third party proves that the applicant has "availed himself" of his European patent application against him (A128 (2) EPC).
    • this is the case if the applicant invokes a patent application (eg US) claiming the priority of this European patent application (J14 / 91 and Directives A-XI 2.5);
    • if the evidence is not adduced at the same time as the request, the EPO invites the third party to provide this evidence within a specified period of time on pain of rejection (Directives A-XI 2.5);
    • the applicant then has the right to know the identity of the third party presenting this request (Directives A-XI 2.5);
    • the plaintiff is heard in order to decide on the petition: in case of dispute, a decision is made (likely to appeal) presumably by the legal division (Directives A-XI 2.5).

2.1.3. Special case of divisional applications

If a divisional application or an application filed underA61 (1) EPC is published, the file of the parent application is accessible to all (A128 (3) EPC, ie even if it has been removed).

Section 2.2. Parts open to public inspection

2.2.1. Principle

Normally, are open to public inspection (A128 (4) EPC together R145 EPC) and can be communicated (R146 EPC) (Directives A-XI 2.1):

  • any document resulting from the examination procedure;
  • any document resulting from the opposition proceedings;
  • any document resulting from the appeal;
  • the opinion at the research stage.

Also part of the rooms open to public inspection:

  • the REB (A127 EPC);
  • third party observations (Directives A-XI 2.1) ;
  • all documents exchanged with the EPO, in particular exchanges with the Directorate for Quality Support (DQS), which may be of interest to third parties (T1691 / 15).

2.2.2. Exclusion

Are excluded from public inspection (R144 (a) EPC at R144 (c) EPC):

  • the documents concerning the abstention or disqualification of members of the boards of appeal or the Enlarged Board of Appeal
  • draft decisions and notifications, or the documents used for their preparation;
  • the documents concerning the designation of the inventor if he has waived the right to be mentioned.

Also excluded are (R144 (d) EPC together " Decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 12 July 2007 concerning parts excluded from public inspection », OG 2007, Special Edition No. 3, J.3, A1):

  • ex officio:
    • medical certificates;
    • the parts relating to
      • the establishment of priority documents,
      • to public inspection procedures
      • or information from the records,
    • requests to exclude parts of the public inspection;
    • expedited search and expedited search applications under the PACE program (if submitted using EPO Form 1005 or a separate document).
  • on a reasoned request from a party or his representative (or ex officio if the condition below is obvious):
    • if the public inspection affects personal or economic interests (T1534 / 16) natural or legal persons whom it is necessary to preserve.

If a request is made to exclude a part from public inspection, these parts are provisionally excluded until a final decision (" Decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 12 July 2007 concerning parts excluded from public inspection », OG 2007, Special Edition No. 3, J.3, A1).

If a room is marked " confidential "While she is not excluded from the public inspection, she returned to her sender (T516 / 89 and Directives A-XI 2.3).

If it is requested that a part be excluded from public inspection (eg because it would disclose factory secrets) while the latter could inform the public about the patent, the request for exclusion should be rejected (T2522 / 10).

Section 2.3. Modality of public inspection

2.3.1. Free consultation

1) Modality

Freely, a third party can consult the file:

  • on the Internet (via Register Plus, " Decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 12 July 2007 on the details of the public inspection », OG 2007, Special Edition No. 3, J.2);
  • on the spot :
    • by consulting the paper file (but this is not a priori more possible since the possibility of consulting online, " Decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 12 July 2007 on the details of the public inspection », OG 2007, Special Edition No. 3, J.2);
    • by printing pages on the premises of the EPO.
2) Tax

Internet or on-site consultation is free (" Schedule of taxes and fees », supplement to OJ 3/2012 point 2.1.6) while the printing of a self-serve A4 page in the EPO premises is invoiced 0,4 €.

2.3.2. Communication of parts

1) Modality

Upon request, the EPO may communicate:

The time required to obtain these copies is usually 4 weeks (" Decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 12 July 2007 on the details of the public inspection », OG 2007, Special Edition No. 3, J.2, A2 (4));

2) Query

There is no particular form requirement for the request of theA128 (4) EPC (although there is a possible form, Directives A-XI 2.2).

It must be filed with one of the EPO's receiving offices and include an indication of the payment of the fee (see below) (Directives A-XI 2.2).

Requests submitted by fax or the Internet do not need to be confirmed (Directives A-XI 2.2).

This request is put in the file, but in a part not accessible by the public or by the applicant / holder (Directives A-XI 2.4).

3) Tax

A fee must be paid for each copy (R146 EPC together the " Schedule of taxes and fees », supplement to OJ 3/2012 2.1.7) or for the information requested (R145 (1) EPC together the " Schedule of taxes and fees », supplement to OJ 3/2012 point 2.1.9):

  • 50 € for the 100th pages;
  • 0,5 € for each page from the 101st page;
  • 4,5 € in addition for fax transmission in Europe;
  • 6 € in addition for a fax transmission outside Europe;
  • 40 € for the communication of information contained in the file.

The EPO may require the complainant to use the free consultation rather than the disclosure of documents, in particular because of the amount of information to be provided (Directives A-XI 3).

Section 2.4. Records retention

The EPO keeps records 5 years at least after the end of the year in which (R147 (4) EPC):

  • the application was rejected, withdrawn or deemed withdrawn;
  • the patent has been revoked by the EPO;
  • the patent has expired in all designated states (ie one year after the last annual fee payment).

Nevertheless, Notice from the European Patent Office dated 1 June 1990 concerning the keeping of European patent applications and European patents », OJ 1990, 365 indicates that files that have had an appeal or opposition procedure are kept 25 years from the filing date.

If a file is destroyed, it is no longer possible to consult it even if the BWR can be. Any tax payment for access to the file will be refunded, as it will be paid without cause (" Notice from the European Patent Office dated 1 June 1990 concerning the keeping of European patent applications and European patents », OJ 1990, 365).

The destruction of the file is not mentioned in the REB (" Notice from the European Patent Office dated 1 June 1990 concerning the keeping of European patent applications and European patents », OJ 1990, 365).

Section 2.5. Issuance of certified copies of the file

Upon request, a certified copy of the patent application, fascicle, documents in the file may be provided to the applicant or third parties (if, of course, public inspection is possible) (Directives A-XI 5 and Decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 12 July 2007 on the details of the public inspection », OG 2007, Special Edition No. 3, J.2, A2 (3)).

A true copy fee is charged (" Schedule of taxes and fees », OJ 3/2012, supplement, point 2.1.8): 50 € by pieces.

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