The new 'Handbook of Quality Procedures' explains the Complaints System at the EPO

The new "Handbook of quality procedures before the EPO" (pdf, 780 KB) adresses the practice of applicants and representatives the practice of examiners, in particular how the examiner should best carry out examination so as to reach a decision in a reasonable time while dealing openly with parties to the proceedings; the practice of formalities officers, particularly focusing on interaction between formalities officers and applicants; and how complaints are dealt with at the EPO. Even though it is not binding either on the EPO or on users and their representatives, it gives some interesting insight into the workflow the EPO wished applicants and representativers to follow. One of the more interesting issues for practitioners can be found in Chaper 8, "Complaints", pages 49 and 50, sketching the following:
The importance of making a complaint. Anyone dissatisfied with the services of the EPO, whether or not he is a party to the proceedings in question, is encouraged to make his dissatisfaction known to the Office. The EPO takes feedback seriously and strives to use it as a basis for continuous improvement. There will be no negative consequences for the complainant merely because he files a complaint. The EPO will investigate all complaints. [...] Once a final decision has been taken or an application is withdrawn, it is too late: complaints are best made as early as possible. Procedure for making a complaint. Complaints can be submitted to the EPO by any convenient means. Written complaints are easiest to deal with, especially if sent by e-mail direct to Directorate Quality Management Support [..] at If a complaint is contained in a response filed in connection with a particular application, the response must be filed by the official means, preferably online. In this case, the complaint will be investigated more quickly if a copy of the response is sent by e-mail to DQMS. [.. ...
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