Electronic signature on documents to the Norwegian Industrial Property Office
Which documents do I need to sign?
In some cases, the regulations require certain documents to be signed. This applies, for example, when you are going to:
- apply for, change or delete industrial rights
- submit oppositions and administrative reviews
- give a power of attorney for others to act on your behalf
Which electronic signatures does the NIPO accept?
The Norwegian Industrial Property Office accepts:
- a handwritten signature on a paper document
- an electronic copy or scan of a signed paper document. This also applies if you have used only electronic aids to create a document with a handwritten signature.
Here are some examples of approved, handwritten signatures.
These are reproduced or created using electronic means, such as an electronic pen, or an image of a handwritten signature.
If the name is only typed, we do not accept this as a valid signature.
Here are some examples of typed names using different fonts that we do not accept.
The reason we accept the handwritten signatures is that paper communication is equated with electronic communication. This despite the fact that this method has low identification security and low information security.
Electronic signature from Altinn
An electronic signature made by Altinn from a person who has been identified using a Norwegian ID number in the national ID portal, is accepted as a valid signature.
Altinn is the primary internet portal for digital dialogue between businesses, private individuals and public authorities in Norway. In Altinn you can
- check the box for signing so that the document you are sending has an electronic signature
- use Altinn to send documents with a digital reproduction of your handwritten signature.
Altinn provides a degree of security during identification, information security during transfer, receipt solution, and ensures that documents received from Altinn are imported quickly and efficiently into the NIPO's systems without the need for manual operations.
Do you not have a Norwegian ID number?
You can also use Altinn without having access to login via the Norwegian ID portal. More information about using Altinn without having a Norwegian ID number.
Why should I sign a document?
The purpose of the signature is to link a person to the document being signed. The signature requirement in the regulations helps to ensure that you can have confidence in the information in the NIPO's registers. However, as a general rule, it is always the underlying circumstances that will be decisive in the event of a dispute.
What happens if I sign incorrectly?
In the Regulations on payments etc. to the Norwegian Industrial Property Office and the Board of Appeal for Industrial Rights Section 1 third paragraph second sentence, it is stated that the Norwegian Industrial Property Office determines the standard for electronic signatures at all times. In Section 1 fourth paragraph of the regulation it is stated that "An application or document submitted in another manner than described in the first to third paragraphs is deemed not to have been filed".
Our future plans
The work to put schemes in place to accept more electronic signatures is part of the NIPO's digitisation strategy. An important part of the digitisation process is putting schemes in place that will meet the requirements of the eIDAS Regulation on mutual recognition of national eIDs in the member states of the EU and EEA.
But there is also a clear need for the use of electronic identification and trust services from actors outside Europe. We are therefore in dialogue with other IPR authorities to find a mutual approach and harmonise requirements for information security for electronic identification in this sector.
However, it is difficult to give any clear indication of when it can be opened up. We will regularly evaluate what can be accepted as signatures, and update the information here on our website continuously.