Update: I have heard from WIPO that this was a temporary thing, as part of the testing for EPO becoming an Accessing Office. WIPO has now finished the test and the Certificates of Availability as of today no longer mention EPO.
It is still planned that EPO will commence its participation in DAS in the second half of 2018.
Neither EPO or WIPO has yet announced it, but I am delighted to be able to report that EPO is now an Accessing Office in the DAS system.
The letters “EP” now appear in every Certificate of Availability (for utility patents) that you might obtain from the DAS system. An example of this is quoted above. You can see the full Certificate of Availability for this provisional patent application. I have spot-checked through DAS and every patent application that I checked is now available to EPO (so long as the DAS access code is provided to EPO).
In November of 2017 I blogged that this was going to happen Real Soon Now. And now it has happened, at least to the extent that EPO is now an Accessing Office. This is very good news. It means that if a patent application in the EPO claims priority from a non-EPO patent application, the EPO can obtain an electronic certified copy of the priority application from the DAS system (if the access code is provided to EPO).
It is important to keep in mind that this means that any patent application can now be provided to EPO through DAS (using the access code). There are two paths which can be followed for this purpose:
- in the case where the priority application was filed in an Office that is a Depositing Office in DAS, then the only thing that is needed is for the applicant to give permission to the Depositing Office to provide an electronic certified copy to DAS (and to provide the access code to EPO).
- In the case where the priority application was filed in an Office that is not a Depositing Office in DAS, the only thing that is needed is to provide a physical certified copy of the application to WIPO, which will then scan the application and make it available in DAS, and will then generate an access code which the filer can then provide to EPO.
The question that jumps immediately to the mind of the alert reader is, is EPO also now a Depositing Office in the DAS system? I have made inquiry to EPO about this. As soon as EPO becomes a Depositing Office (and maybe it already is), then it will be time for USPTO to pull the plug on the bilateral PDX connection between USPTO and EPO.