Backup SmartCard for Disaster Planning

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John M
Posts: 14
Joined: Mon Feb 08, 2010 12:49 pm

Backup SmartCard for Disaster Planning

Post by John M » Tue May 25, 2010 4:25 pm

We are setting out our plans on how to continue operating as normally as possible in case of a local disaster, e.g. our building burns down and all computer hardware is destroyed. Our computer records are backed up remotely.

Initially we would work from home until new premesis are found. We would need to retain the ability to file patent applications (e.g. on behalf of overseas affiliates) and respond to official actions at the EPO. However in the disaster scenario our smartcards and readers would be destroyed with the building. Repacement cards and readers could take a long time to arrive and post for the burnt down building might be inefficient or difficult to obtain. To minimise disruption we would prefer to have back up smartcards and readers ready to go.

Does anyone know whether it is possible to get duplicate or second smart cards which we can keep at home as a back up in case our cards at work are destroyed in such a disaster?


Martinadu
Posts: 88
Joined: Wed Sep 29, 2004 2:52 pm

Re: Backup SmartCard for Disaster Planning

Post by Martinadu » Thu Jul 08, 2010 1:45 pm

Dear John,

While we appreciate the need for disaster planning and backups. Our present structure does not
provide for backup smart cards. Replacement readers can be sent directly if necessary . Smart cards are
unique for the user, and replacements have to go through the regular process of a 2 - 4 week delivery
period. Unfortunately, we cannot go round that. I would also believe that smart card users will not leave
their cards around in the office?


Martin Adu
Installations


John M
Posts: 14
Joined: Mon Feb 08, 2010 12:49 pm

Re: Backup SmartCard for Disaster Planning

Post by John M » Thu Jul 22, 2010 1:44 pm

Thanks for the reply.

Disasters affecting access to work for long periods are quite rare, but the effect can be devastating. About 5 years ago the Buncefield fire in the UK destroyed about 5 buildings and seriously damaged another 30. Many business, including our own, were affected. Before that, a private practice in Manchester was unable to access its offices for a long period following a bombing which rendered the building unsafe.

It seems that in the event of a disaster, it would take 2 to 4 weeks to get a replacement card and reader. This is a very long time. In the meantime we would be unable to file new UK, PCT or European patent applications electronically for our company or clients, or respond to official actions. Fax and postal filings would still be possible, although all the more difficult when working from home or an emergency office.

While we would not be so careless as to leave our cards "lying around the office", they are kept in attormeys offices under lock-and-key. The risk of carrying a card around (instead of leaving it at the office) is that the card is then much more likely to be lost, stolen or left at home when it is needed at work, daily, to do our jobs.

If duplicate cards cannot be issued, I would suggest the EPO puts in place an expedited procedure for replacing lost cards in true emergencies. Under normal circumstances, if a card is lost then another attorney in the office can electronically sign documents instead, so under these circumstances I do not think theree is a true emergency and expediting card replacement is uneccessary. On the other hand, if a sole practitioner loses his card, or if there is a disaster, then there may be a true emergency.

Would it be possible for the EPO to issue cards and readers more quickly than 2-4 weeks in true emergencies?

I have a second, related question: Is it possible to receive communications from the EPO electronically to a group, central e-mail account, in addition to postal paper copies sent by post to the attorney? This is easily possible under the PCT. I ask because in the event of a disaster, all of our paper files would be inaccesible or even destroyed. Access to new mail could be a problem too as there are multiple companies using the same postal address. However electronic copies of pending official actions could be obtained from our back up server, and new actions would be received electronically in the central mailbox, if e-mailing of communications is possible. If it is possible, how can we arrange for all new communications to be sent electronically to a central e-mail account (in addition to hard copies by post) and typically how big are they ? (I believe 10MB is a typical maximum e-mail size which can get through a firewall).


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