On the way to a paperless patent granting process
In the framework of our Strategic Plan, the European Patent Office (EPO) has embarked on an ambitious programme to transform and improve the way we interact with our users. Offering a fully digitalised and paperless patent granting process (PGP) is paramount to achieving this.
We have initiated a multi-year plan called the "MyEPO roadmap" to achieve our objective of modernizing access to our services, simplifying user communication, and introducing new portfolio management tools.
Last summer, inspired by user feedback about our existing services, we launched MyEPO Portfolio, an advanced platform for users to work and interact online with the EPO on patent applications. Together with our new platforms for online filing (Online Filing 2.0) and fee payments (Central Fee Payment), MyEPO Portfolio supports every aspect of EP and PCT procedures.
Since then, we have continued adding major new features, all designed, trialled, and implemented in close collaboration with our user community.
Recent highlights include:
- In March 2023 we stopped using an old communication channel: faxes. The EPO no longer sends faxes, but we still accept incoming faxes in the patent granting process. Our working scenario foresees June 2024 as the date from which faxes will no longer be accepted in the PGP. As an alternative to faxes, we will soon provide a new contingency upload e-filing solution that will be available as an emergency filing means.
- We also started trials for modern two-step verification methods that eliminate the need for a physical smart card when accessing our services.
- We are currently trialling other new features with pilot participants, before release to all users at the beginning of July.
The roadmap for 2023 and 2024
The MyEPO roadmap accessible below outlines two pilot phases and the sixteen major features we are introducing, as well as the planned decommissioning of six existing services. These include the old Mailbox and My Files services, both of which will be discontinued in June 2024 thanks to improved functionality already available in MyEPO Portfolio.
Major new MyEPO Portfolio features include:
- Modern alternatives to the physical smart card for accessing MyEPO services. We will no longer distribute new smart cards from January 2024, and existing smart cards will be discontinued as of January 2025.
- A new business-to-business technical application programming interface (API) for downloading EPO Mailbox communications to intellectual property management systems
- Online interaction with examiners to adjust application claims and descriptions
- Electronic PCT communications delivered to the EPO Mailbox for international agents and non-European applicants
- New options to reply to communications from the EPO (extended European search report, invitations about subject-matter for search, Euro-PCT search report)
- Request change of representation, changes to bibliographic data, withdrawal of application
- Request changes to entries in the list of European professional representatives
Details about MyEPO Portfolio, including its features and benefits, as well as the roadmap for 2023 and 2024, can be accessed through the links below.
With the uptake of MyEPO Portfolio by our users gathering pace, two-thirds of users are already benefiting from improved access and additional features. Have a look and start using MyEPO Portfolio today.