OJ EPO SE 5/2017, p11 - Arrangements for deposit accounts (ADA)

CONTENTS 

1. General provisions

2. Formalities for opening and closing an account

3. Replenishments, repayments and transfers between deposit accounts

4. Conditions of operating the account

5. Debiting the account

6. Revoking a debit order

7. Automatic debiting procedure

8. Debiting annual subscriptions of members of the Institute of Professional Representatives before the European Patent Office

1. General provisions

Under Articles 5(2) and 7(2) of its Rules relating to Fees (RFees), the EPO makes available, for any interested natural or legal person (or bodies equivalent to a legal person under the law applicable to them), deposit accounts for paying fees, expenses and prices to the EPO. Deposit accounts are kept in euro only, at EPO headquarters in Munich.

2. Formalities for opening and closing an account

2.1 A deposit account may be opened at the request of the prospective account holder. He must provide all the necessary particulars about his person, occupation and address. This is done by completing and submitting the online request form on the EPO website under "Applying for a patent -> Forms and fees -> Making payments". If his contact details change, the account holder must inform the EPO accordingly, also using the online request form.

2.2 A deposit account may be closed at the signed written request of the deposit account holder or his successors in title, filed by email attachment sent to support@epo.org, or by completing and submitting the online form available on the EPO website under "Applying for a patent -> Forms and fees -> Making payments" together with the signed written request. From the request it must be evident that the requester and the deposit account holder are the same person.

Successors in title must provide the EPO with documentary proof of their entitlement.

2.3 In addition, the EPO reserves the right to close any account which fails to comply with the ADA, especially their point 4.1.

2.4 On closure of the account, the credit balance is refunded by bank transfer to the holder or his successors in title, once the necessary bank account details have been supplied in writing.

2.5 A deposit account can be re-opened at the request of the original account holder, made by crossing the appropriate box in the online request form referred to in point 2.1.

3. Replenishments, repayments and transfers between deposit accounts

3.1 Once the deposit account has been opened, its number is communicated to the holder, who must then make an initial payment commensurate with his requirements and the intended frequency of replenishment, so as to ensure that there are sufficient funds in the account.

3.2 Payments to replenish deposit accounts must be made into the EPO's bank account.[ 1 ] The payment must include the following information in the reference field of the bank transfer: "replenishment" (or "repl" for short) or "deposit", followed by the eight-digit number (starting with 28) of the EPO deposit account concerned.[ 2 ] They are credited to the deposit account as of the date on which the payment is actually entered in the EPO bank account.

3.3 Repayments of deposit account balances are possible for various reasons, e.g. closure of the deposit account or ceasing to work as a European patent attorney.

3.4 Such repayments can only be made to the deposit account holder. For this purpose, a signed substantiated request containing all bank details necessary for the transfer must be filed. The EPO may request further evidence to confirm the account holder's identity and the bank details.

3.5 Transfers between deposit accounts held at the EPO are possible only if the deposit account holder is the same legal entity or natural person. For this purpose, the deposit account holder must submit a signed request to the EPO. The EPO may request further evidence to confirm the account holder's identity.

3.6 The requests under points 3.4 and 3.5 must be filed by email attachment sent to support@epo.org, or by completing and submitting the online contact form available on the EPO website under "https://forms.epo.org/service-support/contact-us/contact0-form.html"[ 3 ] together with the signed written request.

4. Conditions of operating the account

4.1 The account holder must ensure that the account contains sufficient funds at all times. Article 7(1) RFees, the ten-day fail-safe provision of Article 7(3)(a) and (b) RFees, second half-sentence, and Article 7(4) RFees apply mutatis mutandis to replenishment payments.

4.2 Account holders can inspect their pending orders, payment plan and transactions performed, download their statements and monitor their account balances via Online Fee Payment.[ 4 ] Any errors noted must be notified to the EPO without delay. The EPO checks this information and makes any corrections necessary, retroactively to the original decisive payment date.

5. Debiting the account

Subject to point 8, deposit accounts may be debited only in respect of fees, expenses and prices payable to the EPO in connection with European and PCT proceedings.

5.1 Types of debit orders and accepted means of filing

5.1.1 Debiting occurs only on the basis of an electronic debit order signed by the account holder or the authorised representative. The signature may take the form of a text string signature, a facsimile signature, an enhanced electronic signature,[ 5 ] or authentication with smart card if payment is made via Online Fee Payment in Online services.

The debit order may be

  • a debit order for individual fees for one or more applications, i.e. a single or a batch debit order, or
  • an automatic debit order[ 6 ] for a specific European or international patent application, authorising the EPO to debit fees automatically as the proceedings progress.

5.1.2 The debit order must be filed in an electronically processable format (XML) via one of the following:

  • EPO Online Filing or the EPO Case Management System (CMS), using EPO Forms 1001E, 1200E, 2300E or 1038E;
  • the EPO Online Filing software or PCT-SAFE, CMS and ePCT using the PCT fee calculation and payment feature;[ 7 ]
  • Online Fee Payment in Online services.

5.1.3 Debit orders submitted in any other way, e.g. on paper, by fax, via the web-form filing service or using a different format such as a PDF attachment, are invalid and thus will not be carried out. The EPO will inform the party to the proceedings[ 8 ] accordingly, as a courtesy service. The legal consequence of filing an invalid debit order is laid down in point 5.4.2.

5.2 Order of priority for processing debit orders

5.2.1 The EPO processes debit orders in the following order of priority:

(a) automatic debit orders,

(b) any other debit orders.

5.2.2 As a rule, the EPO books debit orders under point 5.2.1(a) and (b) within two to three working days after the decisive payment date of the fee to be debited automatically or the date of receipt of the debit order.

Deposit account holders should ensure that their account always contains sufficient funds to cover all debit orders submitted.

5.2.3 Subject to this, debit orders are booked in ascending order of application number ("PCT" before "EP"). For Euro-PCT applications, the EP number is the relevant number.

5.2.4 If, on the date of receipt of the debit order or on the date specified under point 5.4.1, second paragraph, the account does not contain sufficient funds to cover all the fees indicated for an application (shortfall), the fees are booked in ascending order of the fee codes, as long as the funds allow.[ 9 ] The holder is informed accordingly by fax or email. Outstanding payments are considered to have been made on the date on which the deposit account is duly replenished.

5.3 Validation and rejection of payments in Online Fee Payment

5.3.1 Debit orders included in a batch debit order which relate to the payment of renewal fees for "definitively closed" European patent applications or granted patents will be automatically rejected.

5.3.2 Debit orders included in a batch debit order which relate to the payment of fees for transfer of rights for "definitively closed" European patent applications will be automatically rejected.

5.3.3 For the above purposes, a European patent application is considered to be definitively closed if the loss of rights or the refusal of the application has become final, i.e. in particular if

(i) the application is withdrawn, deemed to be withdrawn or refused and no means of redress, except a request for re-establishment of rights, has been filed,

(ii) the decision on the means of redress is negative and no appeal has been filed, or

(iii) the decision on the appeal is negative or the appeal is withdrawn.

5.3.4 A message confirming that the debit order could not be carried out is generated by the system after validation, and stored in the account history.

5.4 Payment date

5.4.1 Provided there are sufficient funds in the deposit account on the date the EPO receives the debit order, that date will be considered as the date on which the payment is made.

The debit order may specify that a payment order is to be executed at a later date than the submission date. In that case, the payment date is deemed to be the execution date specified. Payment orders with a deferred execution date may be executed up to 40 days after the submission date.

5.4.2 If a debit order is submitted via a non-accepted means of filing or in an invalid format, the date of receipt will not be regarded as the payment date. If this means that a time limit for paying a fee has expired, the party to the proceedings[ 10 ] may make use of any of the legal remedies available under the EPC or the PCT.

5.5 Unavailability of the accepted electronic means of filing debit orders

If a payment period expires on a day on which one of the accepted means of filing debit orders under point 5.1.2 is not available at the EPO, the payment period is extended to the first day thereafter on which all such means as are available for the type of application concerned can be accessed again. In the event of a general unavailability of electronic communication services, or if other like reasons within the meaning of Rule 134(5) EPC or Rule 82quater.1 PCT arise, payment periods are extended in accordance with these provisions.

5.6 Filings under Article 75(1)(b) EPC with a competent national authority

5.6.1 If a European patent application is filed under Article 75(1)(b) EPC with a competent national authority, a debit order for fees which can be paid on filing can be submitted using one of the means accepted under point 5.1.2, irrespective of how the application itself is filed. In that case, to avoid any loss of rights the debit order must be filed at the latest on expiry of the relevant time limit under the EPC or, where applicable, under the PCT. The debit order may be included with the application using mandatory Form 1020 and only if the application is filed on paper with the competent national authority.

5.6.2 If a debit order under point 5.6.1 is received by the EPO after expiry of the period for paying the fees, such period is considered to have been observed if evidence is available or is supplied to the EPO that the debit order was filed with the competent national authority together with the application, provided the account contained sufficient funds on the date on which the period expired.

5.6.3 If a debit order (Form 1020) under point 5.6.1 is received by the competent national authority before the date on which an increase in the amounts of fees pursuant to Article 2 RFees takes effect but is received by the EPO on or after that date, the date of receipt at the competent national authority is considered to be the date on which the payment is made, provided the account contained sufficient funds on that date.

5.6.4 For international applications filed with the EPO as receiving Office via a national office of an EPC contracting state pursuant to Article 151, second sentence, EPC and Article 75(2)(b) EPC, points 5.6.1 and 5.6.2 apply mutatis mutandis.

6. Revoking a debit order

6.1 A debit order may be revoked in whole or in part by signed written notice from the person making the payment filed by email attachment sent to support@epo.org, or by completing and submitting the online contact form available on the EPO website under "https://forms.epo.org/service-support/contact-us/contact0-form.html"[ 11 ] together with the signed written request.[ 12 ] The notice of revocation of a debit order must indicate the number of the deposit account, the number of the application or patent and, in the case of partial revocation, it must specify each fee or expense concerned.

6.2 The notice of revocation or partial revocation is not effective if received by the EPO after the date of receipt of the debit order.

6.3 This revocation procedure applies mutatis mutandis to debit orders with deferred execution dates under point 5.4.1, 2nd paragraph.

7. Automatic debiting procedure

Deposit account holders may have their accounts debited automatically on the basis of an automatic debit order. The conditions applicable, and in particular the types of proceedings and fees covered, are laid down in the Arrangements for the automatic debiting procedure (AAD).[ 13 ]

8. Debiting annual subscriptions of members of the Institute of Professional Representatives before the European Patent Office

8.1 Under the Administrative Agreement of 5 April 1993 between the European Patent Office and the Institute of Professional Representatives before the European Patent Office (epi),[ 14 ] deposit accounts may be debited with epi members' annual subscriptions as specified below upon submission of a debit order signed by the epi and based on one or more direct debiting mandates issued to the epi by the account holder and not submitted to the EPO.

8.2 Debit orders under point 8.1 are carried out with effect from the fixed debiting dates of 25 February and 25 June each year only; Rule 134(1) EPC on the extension of time limits does not apply. They are transmitted to the EPO on a data carrier specified by the EPO and comprise, in one overall sum, all annual subscriptions to be debited from a deposit account. The date of payment is that on which the account is debited.

8.3 If, after priority has been given to fees or expenses in respect of EPO publications or services, a deposit account does not contain sufficient funds on the debiting date to cover the epi debit order, the order is not carried out and is returned to the epi.

8.4 Points 5.1 to 5.5 and 6 do not apply to debit orders under point 8.1.

 

 

[ 1 ] The following account with the Commerzbank in Germany is available for payments and transfers from all member states:

Nr. 3 338 800 00 (BLZ 700 800 00), IBAN DE20 7008 0000 0333 8800 00, BIC DRESDEFF700, Commerzbank AG, Leopoldstrasse 230, 80807 München, Germany.

[ 2 ] E.g. "replenishment 28XXXXXX", "repl 28XXXXXX" or "deposit 28XXXXXX.

[ 3 ] Under "Topic" and "Subject", please select "Fee payment" and "Deposit account" from the respective drop-down menus.

[ 4 ] For details, see Applying for a patent -> Online fee payment on the EPO website.

[ 5 ] For further details, see the decision of the President dated 15 November 2015 concerning the electronic filing of documents (OJ EPO 2015, A91).

[ 6 ] See point 7 ADA, the Arrangements for automatic debiting (Annex A.1 in this supplementary publication) and Information from the EPO concerning the automatic debiting procedure (Annex A.2, loc. cit.).

[ 7 ] As from 1 November 2016, the payment of all fees related to PCT proceedings at the EPO may be indicated via the online filing PCT-SFD plug-in.

[ 8 ] A party to the proceedings may be e.g. an applicant, opponent, appellant or, if the party is represented, its international agent or European representative.

[ 9 ] See the description of fee codes published in the schedule of fees and expenses applicable as from 1 April 2016 (OJ EPO 2016, supplementary publication 2).

[ 10 ] A party to the proceedings may be e.g. an applicant, opponent, appellant or, if the party is represented, its international agent or European representative.

[ 11 ] Under "Topic" and "Subject", please select "Fee payment" and "Revocation of a debit order" from the respective drop-down menus.

[ 12 ] Exceptionally, the request may also be filed by fax sent to the Munich central fax number +49 89 2399 4465.

[ 13 ] See Annex A.1 in this supplementary publication. See also Annex A.2 in this supplementary publication for information from the EPO concerning the automatic debiting procedure.

[ 14 ] See Annex B.1 in this supplementary publication.

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