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Update on decommissioning of online filing (CMS) IMMINENT (31 December 2021)

December 23, 2021

Further to the news item of 3 December, epi has been monitoring closely with EPO experts the progress of users who are switching from CMS to Online Filing 2.0. Following an offer by Mr Campinos’ to consider extending CMS, epi reminded EPO of the issues that are being encountered or anticipated by users of all sizes, and suggested that the closure of CMS should be delayed for a time while the functionality of OLF 2.0 is still developing to what CMS currently offers. In the end, the operation of CMS will not be extended beyond 31 December 2021.

On the other hand, epi President Francis Leyder and OCC chair John Gray were pleased to meet on 22 December, with EPO’s VP1 Steve Rowan and Chief Information Officer Diego Eguidazu Alonso. This allowed us to understand the background to the decision, to exchange views on the impact for users (large and small), and also to discuss what measures are being taken to reduce stress and risk for representatives and their clients.

Some welcome reassurances were received:

  • The EPO has taken measures to ensure CMS remains operational until the end of 31 December.
  • Users who are still active in CMS are being contacted by EPO support staff to confirm that they are aware of the shutdown and are ready to switch. Of those contacted, almost all confirmed they were aware of the closure and ready for it.
  • Although the EPO will be closed for official business from 24 December until 2 January, inclusive, support lines will be open and technical support staff briefed to deal with online filing issues.
  • EPO continues working with WIPO to implement the missing functionality for importing PCT-related filings. This will be made available as soon as it is proven in testing.

epi’s Online Communications Committee (OCC) continues to co-operate with the EPO to identify improvements, and we hope that the loss of certain functionality will be rectified over the next weeks and months. Users are invited to feed back their experiences and suggestions for improvement through their Key Account Managers and Customer Support.

Users having difficulty accessing or operating any of the EPO systems should of course seek support from the EPO without delay. It is also a good idea to identify in advance a ‘Plan B’ for urgent filings, rather than rely on a single system. The EPO online filing systems are summarised here. The ePCT system can be accessed directly at WIPO.

epi's Online Communications Committee wishes all members a stress-free New Year! Thanks to those members who contacted us at occ@patentepi.org. during 2021.

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