WIPO’s Digital Access Service (DAS) allows priority documents to be exchanged electronically between participating IP Offices (there are currently 19 participating offices including the US, Japan, China, Korea [who make up 4 of the 5 IP5 offices], the UK and Australia).
The EPO will be joining the list of participating IP offices from 1 November 2018 (see Decision of the EPO President here and accompanying Notice from the EPO here). Where the WIPO DAS is used an Office of Second Filing (OSF) may electronically retrieve a copy of the priority document from the Office of First Filing (OFF) using a DAS access code.
Initially DAS at the EPO will be for EP patent applications and EP regional phase applications from the PCT. DAS will not initially be available for PCT applications filed at the EPO though this will be added in the future.
EPO as Office of First Filing (OFF)
Where the EPO is OFF and an applicant files an EP patent application using Online Filing (either eOLF or CMS) then a DAS access code will be automatically generated and included in the receipt. DAS codes will not be generated for divisional applications. Where an applicant files via another route (e.g. paper, fax, web form or national office) or requests a code then the EPO will send the DAS code on EPO Form 1194.
EPO as Office of Second Filing (OSF)
When the EPO is the Office of Second Filing then an applicant may indicate the DAS access code or codes which correspond to the earlier applications on the request for grant from (EPO Form 1001). The Applicant may also submit a separate request to the EPO (EPO Form 1013).
Once the priority document has been retrieved and placed in the file then the requirements of Rules 53(2) and 163(2) EPC will have been met. If the document cannot be retrieved via DAS or DAS access codes weren’t included and the priority application is an application from the EPO, JPO, KIPO, CNIPA, USPTO or a PCT (with RO=EPO), then the EPO will include a copy of the application in the file free of charge as they currently do.
If a priority document cannot be included in the file then the applicant will be informed under Rule 53(1) EPC and given time to furnish a copy of the priority application.
Mark Richardson 26 October 2018