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Notice from the European Patent Office dated 11 May 2022 concerning the web-based online service MyEPO Portfolio

This text is intended for publication in the
Official Journal (OJ) of the EPO. It is made available in advance on
the EPO website merely as a courtesy to the public. Only the text
subsequently published in the officially certified PDF file of the OJ is
authentic. It cannot be guaranteed that this advance version accurately
replicates that text.

I. Introduction

1. Under its Strategic Plan 2023 the EPO is
working towards a digital transformation that will deliver new online
tools to better address user needs. In line with that goal, the EPO is
launching MyEPO Portfolio, a secure, web-based online service for
parties to proceedings before the EPO. It is designed to improve
accessibility, enable the exchange of digital information and provide
improved procedural guidance. MyEPO Portfolio builds on the experience
gathered during the user area pilot project, which is now concluded.

2. After its launch, MyEPO Portfolio will be
accessible from MyEPO, an area on the EPO website that will provide
access to a variety of EPO online services in the future, with
additional services added over time. A suite of user guides and tutorials will be available for each service.

II. MyEPO Portfolio

3. MyEPO Portfolio will allow inspection of
documents in the electronic file, provide access to electronic
notifications in EPO proceedings (Mailbox) and offer a contemporary,
simplified approach to making procedural submissions. It will offer an
interface that is more user-friendly, intuitive and accessible to all
kinds of users. Initially, users will require an EPO smart card for
access to MyEPO Portfolio and for authentication to perform certain
actions. During the course of 2022, a range of new functionalities will
be added to MyEPO Portfolio. These will be announced in a dedicated
section of the EPO website or in the Official Journal. Alternatives to
the smart card will also be launched.

Electronic notification

4. Almost all EPO correspondence in European
proceedings can already be notified electronically. MyEPO Portfolio
incorporates improved functionalities and design compared to the
existing way of accessing the Mailbox service. Nonetheless, both options
for accessing Mailbox will remain available. The same decisions,
summonses, notices and communications will be made available in Mailbox,
regardless of how it is accessed. A list of all communications which
are notified electronically to Mailbox is available on the EPO website.
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5. MyEPO Portfolio is intended to eventually replace the Mailbox and My Files services and to become the sole point of access to Mailbox. Users will be given sufficient advance notice to prepare for these changes.

6. Mailbox is expected to be made available
to the remaining user groups, namely international agents and
non-European parties acting before the EPO, during the course of 2022.


7. The Administration feature in MyEPO
Portfolio allows for the administration of the access rights of smart
card holders, including paralegals, according to the principles set out
in the user guide.


8. Users can set up email alerts in MyEPO
Portfolio. The user defines the relevant events which trigger an email
alert. One alert is sent on any day when such an event occurs. The alert
will contain a generic statement indicating that a new communication
has been transmitted to Mailbox, that a deadline is approaching or that a
task has been created. The alert does not contain any information
regarding the communication or application to which the alert pertains.

9. The provision of alerts is a courtesy
service. Notification of communications is entirely independent of the
receipt of an email alert. Failure to receive an alert has no legal
consequences. Users are reminded to check Mailbox frequently for new

Inspection of files relating to European patent applications and European patents included in the user’s portfolio

10. This service incorporates most of the
functionalities of the current My Files service as well as offering
improvements, such as a contemporary design and a simpler user
experience and interface. The portfolio will provide an overview of, and
enable inspection of the files belonging to the patent applications and
granted patents for which the European professional representative or
legal practitioner accessing the service is appointed, regardless of the
stage of the proceedings before the EPO.

11. When viewing the content of the
electronic file, users will be able to see documents in the original
data format in which they were filed. This means, for instance, that if
these documents in their original data format contain parts in colour,
these parts will be displayed in colour in MyEPO. Initially, viewing of
the application portfolio will be available only to European
professional representatives and legal practitioners entitled to act
under Article 134(8) EPC.
They may, however, delegate access to their unpublished applications to
employees of the same company or firm, as set out in the user guide.

12. In addition, any user may inspect the
documents in the electronic file of a published European patent
application or patent via MyEPO Portfolio.

Electronic filing

13. Users will be able to perform procedural
acts within the prescribed period in reply to a communication from the
EPO (“tasks”); file procedural requests which are not subject to a
period and not in reply to a communication from the EPO (“actions”); and
submit documents accompanying these tasks and actions. Initially, only
the tasks listed in Article 3(6) of the decision of the President of the
European Patent Office dated 11 May 2022 concerning the web-based
online service MyEPO Portfolio
will be available.

14. Unlike other EPO filing tools, the
electronic filing service in MyEPO Portfolio will use a structured
workflow for entering relevant content. This new approach will make it
simpler for users to perform procedural acts and file requests while
reducing the risk of error. It will also enable the EPO to capture and
process all submissions as structured data. Users will be guided through
the submission process with the aid of relevant procedural information
and in alignment with the EPC and the Guidelines for Examination.
Plausibility checks and validations will ensure transparency for the
user and compliance with the EPO procedures and requirements.

15. Other electronic filing tools will remain available.

16. Communications from the EPO to be
replied to within a prescribed period will be both notified via Mailbox
and reflected in a menu containing the tasks to be performed. The menu
will be displayed in the pending tasks area. The final date for
completing a specific task will be indicated. This date will reflect the
rules for calculating periods under the EPC and the closure days of the
EPO filing offices under Rule 134(1) EPC.

17. Any subsequent, complementary
submissions to be made during the period for completing a procedural act
– for example corrections to the amendments submitted in reply to the
communication under Rule 71(3) EPC – must be filed using other means.

18. A task will be automatically removed
from the task menu once it has been performed or – if the task is not
performed by the date indicated (i.e. within the period to be observed) –
once a notice of loss of rights under Rule 112(1) EPC has been issued. See also point 22 below.

19. When performing tasks or actions, users
will be able to upload accompanying documents as attachments – for
example grounds in support of a request or amendments to the application
documents. The admissible formats for these attachments will be PDF and

20. As a final step in the filing process,
users will be invited to confirm the filing on the basis of an
automatically generated document reproducing the electronic filing in
its entirety (i.e. a request or reply to an EPO communication together
with any accompanying documents). Upon confirmation of the submission,
it will immediately be added to the file of the corresponding patent
application or patent and made available for public inspection in
accordance with Article 128 EPC.
The automatically generated document reproducing the electronic filing
in its entirety is considered to be the filing and, as a rule, prevails
in the case of conflict with the user’s intended choices in the
electronic workflow. It is therefore recommended to carefully examine
the content of the automatically generated document prior to finalising
the submission.

21. Professional representatives or legal
practitioners may delegate the preparation of any task or action to
employees of the same company or firm, as set out in the user guide. The
submissions prepared by those employees will then be revised and
eventually signed and submitted by the appointed representative.

22. As far as replying to the communication
about the intention to grant is concerned, users will be able to perform
any acts, submit any requests and act on any follow-up communication
directly linked to that reply. For example they will be able to submit a
translation of the claims, file amendments to the text proposed for
grant or request the correction or update of the application’s
bibliographic data. If they fail to observe the four-month period for
reply, they will be able to file a request for further processing and
for a decision under Rule 112(2) EPC until the corresponding notice of loss of rights under Rule 112(1) EPC
has been dispatched. Once this notice has been issued and notified via
Mailbox, a new task will be generated (“react to the noting of loss of
rights”) and can be completed by requesting further processing (see also
points 18 and 19 above). Should the examining division issue a
communication raising an objection to any of the requests for correction
or update of the bibliographic data of the application submitted along
with the reply to the communication under Rule 71(3) EPC,
it will be notified to Mailbox and a new task for the applicant will be
generated. The same holds for any communication raising potential
inconsistencies in the translations of the claims filed in reply to the
communication under Rule 71(3) EPC.

23. Fees can be paid via one of the existing
online tools (Central Fee Payment, Online Filing or Online Fee
Payment). Where a procedural act requires the payment of a fee, users
will be informed accordingly. To facilitate payment, a summary of the
fees due and a link to Central Fee Payment will be displayed for the
user. For more information, see the notice from the European Patent
Office dated 13 July 2021 concerning Central Fee Payment.

24. The launch of further actions and tasks
in MyEPO Portfolio will be announced in a dedicated section of the EPO
website or in the Official Journal. The further tasks that may be added
subsequently to MyEPO Portfolio include the reply to the extended
European search report (Rule 70a EPC), the reply to a communication in examination under Article 94(3) EPC and submissions in preparation for oral proceedings in examination (Rule 116 EPC).
The actions that may be added include requesting the correction or
update of an application’s bibliographic data, requesting the
registration of a transfer of rights (Rule 22 EPC) and giving notice of withdrawal from representation.

III. Other EPO services

25. In MyEPO, links will be provided to a variety of the EPO’s other online services, including Online Filing 2.0, Central Fee Payment and Web-Form Filing. The other EPO online services will be unaffected by the launch of MyEPO and MyEPO Portfolio. Users may in particular continue to use My Files and access Mailbox in the existing way after the launch of MyEPO.


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