FAQ: automatic debiting procedure for PCT fees

The FAQs below give an overview of the automatic debiting procedure for fees due in proceedings before the EPO as receiving Office, ISA and IPEA under the PCT.

For more details, please consult the Arrangements for the automatic debiting procedure (AAD) and the related information from the EPO (Annexes A.1 and A.2 to the ADA, supplementary publication 3, OJ EPO 2015). 

Questions

Answers

How can I file an automatic debit order for fees payable in the international phase?

You can do this via EPO Online Filing, PCT-SAFE, CMS or ePCT, using Form PCT/RO/101, Form PCT/IPEA/401 or PCT-SFD, or via Online Fee Payment in Online services. A separate section in these tools allows you to select automatic debiting as your means of payment.

Automatic debit orders can also be filed on paper, by fax or via web-form filing, using Form PCT/RO/101 or PCT/IPEA/401. In such cases, in the fee calculation sheet annexed to Forms PCT/RO/101 and PCT/IPEA/401 you should tick the box marked "other" in the "mode of payment" section, then write "Automatic debiting" in the free-text field provided. Please note that processing delays may occur if automatic debit orders are filed in this way.


How can I revoke my automatic debit order?

Preferably via Online Fee Payment in Online services (under "Payment plan"), but also via the EPO online filing tools, on paper or by fax. Your notice of revocation must give the number of the PCT application concerned.


Why do I get an error message when I try to file an automatic debit order via Online Fee Payment in Online services?

There are various possible reasons. Perhaps the application number is not correct, or an automatic debit order may already exist for the application in question. Also, you cannot issue an automatic debit order using this tool until the day after filing the international application (i.e. once its number is available).


Are any fees excluded from this procedure?

Only those for international applications processed by the EPO as Supplementary International Searching Authority; all other fees falling due in the international phase are included.


What if there is not enough money in my account to cover all fees due on a given day?

If on the decisive payment date there are insufficient funds in the deposit account to cover the fee(s) due on that day, the automatic debit is not carried out and the account holder is informed accordingly by post, fax or email.

Where more than one application is affected by the lack of funds, fees are debited in ascending order of application number and only for those applications in respect of which the fees are completely covered by the funds in the account.

If the deposit account is sufficiently replenished to enable each fee to be paid, the EPO debits each fee automatically. The payment is considered to have been made on the date on which the deposit account is duly replenished.


Will the paper version of Form PCT/RO/101 be amended?

No, not for the time being.


At what point in time are my fees debited automatically?

As a general rule, on the last day of the time limit for paying them. There are, however, a few exceptions to this rule, namely:

  • fee for restoration of the right of priority (fee code 013)
  • administrative fee for a certified copy of the priority document (fee code 029)
  • administrative fee for an additional copy of the documents cited in the international search report (ISR) or international preliminary examination report (IPER) (fee code 055)

These fees are considered to have been received on the date of receipt of the request for the service concerned.

For administrative reasons, if the request for a certified copy is submitted before the fees under Rules 14.1, 15.2 and 16.1 PCT have been debited, the administrative fee payable is debited together with those fees. In all other cases it is debited within 7 days as from receipt of the request for the certified copy.

Also for administrative reasons, the fee payable for an additional copy of the documents cited in the ISR or IPER is likewise debited within 7 days as from receipt of the request.


What happens if I am using the automatic debiting procedure and the EPO as ISA or IPEA considers that the invention claimed in my PCT application lacks unity?

In non-unity cases the EPO will invite you to pay additional international search or preliminary examination fees. Unless you inform the EPO otherwise, it will debit all such fees on the last day of the one-month time limit.

As a courtesy service, EPO will inform you separately that it has issued such an invitation.


Where can I see the applications for which I have filed an automatic debit order?

Under the payment plan in Online Fee Payment (section Automatic Debit).


Where can I find out which fees are due to be debited soon?

The fees that the EPO is going to debit within the next 40 days are listed under the payment plan in Online Fee Payment (section Fees Due).


I am using Online Fee Payment but cannot access the payment plan. Why not?

Your company administrator has not granted you the necessary rights in the system. He can request access under the Administration section of EPO Online Services.


What happens if I file an automatic debit order on the last day of the time limit for paying a particular fee?

Payment of the fee concerned is considered to have been received on that day.

However, as processing the automatic debit order is likely to take some time, there may be a delay in actually debiting the fee – especially if the order is filed on paper, by fax or by means of web-form filing.


What happens if I revoke my automatic debit order on the last day of the time limit for paying a particular fee?

No more fees will be debited automatically as from the date of receipt of your notice of revocation, and the EPO will correct any debits already made.


Does my automatic debit order for the international phase also cover the fees payable in the European phase?

No, you have to file a separate one for the European phase.


Can I use Online Fee Payment to file or revoke an automatic debit order at any time?

No, you can only do this between 08.00 and 18.00 hrs CET, Monday to Friday.


What if I want to transfer the international application covered by my automatic debit order?

To terminate the automatic debiting procedure, the party withdrawing from the proceedings must explicitly revoke the automatic debit order, either online or on paper.

You must therefore do that at the same time as you request the transfer of rights.


What if an agent withdraws from proceedings on an international application for which he/she filed an automatic debit order?

Agents must not only notify the EPO of their withdrawal; at the same time, they must also explicitly revoke their automatic debit order, either online or on paper.


I filed my PCT application with a receiving Office other than the EPO. Can I still use the automatic debiting procedure to pay the fees before the EPO as ISA and/or IPEA?

Yes, simply file an automatic debit order for the EPO proceedings.


Quick Navigation