Report of the Online Communications Committee

J. Gray (GB), ChairJ. Gray (GB), Chair

The OCC Chair and other OCC members attended the meeting of the SACEPO working group on the Electronic Patent Process on 28 February 2023. This should yield important updates on developments of existing EPO systems and changes. We discussed the phasing out of smart cards, introducing new authentication methods for eOLF, OLF 2.0, MyEPO Portfolio etc.. Also we heard about phasing out of fax sending and many more topics. Fax filing will remain an option for now, but we believe that alternative fall-back mechanisms are urgently required.

Users of the EPO Mailbox and My Files systems are encouraged to try the MyEPO Portfolio if you have not already done so. You can use both systems in parallel without problem while you get used to the options. The new system includes all the functionality of older ones, and older Mailbox and MyFiles will be decommissioned finally in mid-2024.  Of course, MyEPO Portfolio includes additional functionality, but it is up to users how much benefit they take from that. New features are being rolled out gradually through pilot groups. The first machine-machine interface will being tried in the coming quarter, with a user group dedicated to that.

Members are also strongly advised to follow the advice in the EPO’s recent email “Avoiding unauthorised access to EPO online services and your files”. The new MyEPO Portfolio platform gives greater visibility and control of who has smartcards linked to a firm’s account. Use this facility to check whether your account e.g. includes staff who have left the employment some time ago.

OCC members remain very active with the Litigation Committee and the UPC IT team, to get users ready to use the UPC CMS and the forms for UP designation. Discussion among our members in the dedicated forum has been very useful for the UPC IT team, who are dedicated but quite limited in time and resources. It was very welcome that the start of the Sunrise Period was postponed, but the start on 1 March 2023 is “set in stone”. Thanks always to those many members who contribute on the forums, and who participate alongside OCC members in the EPO pilots and focus groups. Members are welcome to contact with any issues that EPO cannot resolve.