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About us

Reporting wrongdoing

Integrity reporting

If you wish to report suspected fraud, corruption, abuse or other integrity issues, please contact us.

Before reporting, please read the FAQ below for information on effective reporting, confidentiality, anonymity, data protection and protection from retaliation. Your report will go straight to the ethics and compliance team, and only they will see it. It will be handled with utmost discretion.

What type of issues can I report via this channel?

Individuals and organisations outside the EPO can report suspected fraud, corruption, abuse or other wrongdoing committed against the interests of the EPO or by a staff member or a person affiliated with the EPO.

Please assess critically if the issue you want to report falls into this category, bearing in mind that we have other contact channels (user services, formal complaint / feedback, Ombuds Office) for other types of communications.  

How should I report?

Provide as much detail as possible, answering the questions what, when, where, why, who and how.

Inform us also if you have any concerns about retaliation.

You must report in good faith and to the best of your knowledge. If you deliberately provide false, incomplete or otherwise misleading information, you may be held responsible through disciplinary or other legal sanctions.

If possible, report in English, French or German.

What happens to my personal data?

Your personal data is protected and will be processed in accordance with the data protection statement for investigative processes.

Can I report anonymously?

You can share your identity with us or remain anonymous. If you remain anonymous, please consider giving us a means of contacting you (such as an email address). By doing so, we can get back to you for clarifications, feedback, or requests for supporting documentation. If you do not know how to create an email address not linked to your identity, please search the internet for "anonymous email". We will not actively seek to identify you. Please consider that if you report anonymously and without providing a means of contact, we may not be able to follow up on your report if the information you provide is too scarce, and we will not be able to inform you about any follow-up.

What happens to my report?

Your report will be evaluated by the ethics and compliance team. Depending on the outcome of this evaluation, an internal investigation may be initiated. Alternatively there may be disciplinary sanctions, referrals to national law enforcement, managerial measures, organisational and process improvements or civil proceedings.

How am I protected from retaliation?

We treat your report with utmost discretion. Information that reveals your identity will be shared internally or externally on a strict need-to-know basis and in compliance with our data protection rules. Should you nevertheless experience or fear retaliation, we will evaluate mitigating or preventive measures together with you. In the case of anonymous reports, our ability to assess the risk of retaliation and take appropriate measures is limited. You can minimise exposure by keeping your report confidential (not disclose it and not communicate about it to third parties) and by highlighting any specific concerns about retaliation in your report.

Can I report despite my professional obligation to maintain confidentiality?

Our employees and those who work in or on behalf of the EPO will not be liable for potential breaches of confidentiality when reporting allegations of wrongdoing in good faith. It is the responsibility of parties outside the EPO to assess whether they are bound by any confidentiality obligation or non-disclosure agreement, in particular with respect to national security or defence, professional secrecy, or vis-à-vis third parties in accordance with data protection regulations. These obligations or agreements may restrict reporting. National laws such as those implementing the EU Directive on Whistleblower Protection do not apply to the EPO but may provide further guidance on rights and obligations in relation to employers or other parties.

Will I be rewarded for reporting?

The EPO does not reward reporters. This is to protect the integrity of the follow-up measures and to avoid doubts being cast on the credibility of the report.

Will I be notified of the follow-up on my report?

We will confirm receipt of your report immediately, give you feedback within a reasonable timeframe, and notify you of the final outcome of investigations or other measures triggered by your report.

The above does not apply if the report does not contain an allegation of wrongdoing or if the allegation is obviously immaterial, vexatious, or time-barred. In that case, the ethics and compliance team can, at its discretion, direct you to an appropriate alternative channel, or forward the report internally, or decide not to respond to you and delete your report without further notification.

I am incurring expenses related to the report. Will the EPO reimburse these expenses?

We do not reimburse any expenses unless this has been expressly agreed in writing in advance. We do not accept any financial liability whatsoever with respect to the report, the reporter or the follow-up. We do not charge fees for processing reports of alleged wrongdoing. We have not commissioned any third party to handle reports of alleged wrongdoing.

I still have questions or concerns. Who can I contact?

You can also contact us for advice before submitting your actual report. We can explain the process as well as your rights and obligations under the service regulations (the legal framework that regulates the administration of the EPO). If you require specific legal advice, you will need to get it at your own expense.

Further information