A revised version of the Arrangements for deposit accounts (ADA)1 and their annexes enters into force on 1 April 2014, and will be published together with an EPO notice in a supplementary publication to the EPO's March 2014 Official Journal. The main changes are as follows:
Due to developments in electronic processing at the EPO, the use of EPO Form 1010 or PCT Forms PCT/RO/101 and IPEA/401 for filing debit orders will become mandatory on 1 April 2014. This applies to both individual and collective debit orders (lists), and also to orders filed by letter and not readable electronically.
The automated electronic processes will improve the security, timeliness, quality and transparency of fee payments. Failure to use the above forms will delay processing considerably, although payers will keep the original submission date as payment date. In such cases, however, for processing purposes, from 1 April 2014 onwards debit orders are to be resubmitted using the standard forms.
The administrative fee will be abolished. Accordingly, points 6.5, 6.6 and 6.7 of the ADA themselves, points 8.1, 8.2, 8.3 and 9 of their Annex A.1 and point 3.7 of their Annex B.1 have been deleted or amended.
Please note that, under point 5.2 ADA, deposit account holders must ensure that their accounts always contain sufficient funds for timely processing of their debit orders.
As in the past, if your account lacks sufficient funds your debit order will be processed only once the account has been suitably replenished. The date of payment will be that of the replenishment (i.e. it will no longer be possible to backdate it by paying the administrative fee). If the date of payment is after the time limit for paying the fee, the general provisions of the European Patent Convention (e.g. Rule 51(2) and Article 121(1) EPC) apply.
Users of the automatic debiting procedure in particular should always ensure that their accounts contain sufficient funds, because under this procedure the fees are generally debited on the last day of the period for payment.
As from 1 April 2014, users will be able to submit debit orders online with deferred execution dates. The fees will then be debited from the deposit account at a later date of the user's choice. This option will be available in both Online Filing and Online Fee Payment, thereby increasing the flexibility offered by both services.