March 05, 2009

Yesterday, the European Patent Office (EPO) announced that the President of the EPO made several decisions on February 26, 2009, concerning the electronic filing of various types of documents at the EPO. A selected number of these decisions, taking effect today (March 5, 2009), are as follows:

Article 1 (Admissibility of electronic filing) - Documents in proceedings under the EPC may be filed with the European Patent Office in electronic form, and European patent applications may also be filed in electronic form with the competent national authorities of those contracting states which so permit.

Article 2 (Filing of international patent applications and other documents) - International (PCT) applications may be filed with the European Patent Office in electronic form, and other documents within the meaning of Rule 89bis.1 and 2 PCT not forming part of the international (PCT) application may be filed in electronic form.

Article 3 (Filing of priority documents) - Articles 1 and 2 shall not apply to priority documents, unless they have been digitally signed by the issuing authority and the signature is accepted by the European Patent Office.

Article 7 (Signature) - Where filed documents require signature, subject to Article 8 this may take the form of a facsimile signature, a text string signature or an enhanced electronic signature. A facsimile signature shall be the facsimile reproduction of the filing person's signature. A text string signature shall be a string of characters, preceded and followed by a forward slash (/), selected by the signatory to provide evidence of his identity and of his intent to authenticate the message in question. An enhanced electronic signature shall be an electronic signature either issued by the European Patent Office or accepted by it.

The complete list of decisions (Articles 1-14) is available at the EPO announcement link below.

EPO Announcement: LINK

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Mark Reichel
Reichel IP LLC

I am a patent attorney with Reichel IP LLC, where I concentrate my practice on patent drafting and prosecution, trademarks, and general intellectual property matters. I currently focus on the preparation and prosecution of medical device and other life sciences patent applications, and being actively involved in a number of local not-for-profit organizations.

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