Terms and conditions
1. Scope of application, modifications
1.1. These Terms and Conditions govern the use of the procurement platform of the European Patent Organisation (EPO). They have no effect as regards the procurement procedures involved and are not part of the Procurement Documents.
1.2. They supplement the terms and conditions of use for the website of the European Patent Office, which also apply to the procurement platform unless otherwise provided below.
1.3. By registering under Section 2 below and using the procurement platform, the user accepts the validity of these Terms and Conditions.
1.4. The EPO reserves the right to amend these Terms and Conditions at any time by posting amended Terms and Conditions on the website. Such amendments take effect on the date on which they are posted. Users are entitled to object to them within two weeks of posting. Continued use of the website or its services constitutes acceptance of the changes concerned. If a user explicitly objects to any new terms and conditions, the EPO is entitled to revoke his access rights. If a user does not agree to the Terms and Conditions as amended, he may also request deletion of his registration at any time.
1.5. If any provision of these Terms and Conditions is for any reason held to be invalid, illegal or otherwise unenforceable, such unenforceability does not affect any other provision; the Terms and Conditions are then to be construed as if they had never contained the provision(s) in question and are to be interpreted, in so far as possible, in such a way as to maintain their original intent.
2. User obligations, registration
2.1. Use of the platform and participation in electronic procurement procedures requires prior registration of the user.
2.2. Registration on the procurement platform is free of charge and valid indefinitely.
2.3.Users must provide correct and complete information when registering, and update it if necessary. They must not misuse any access authorisation granted to them (for example by transferring data to unauthorised third persons). By registering, users agree to being contacted by the EPO by e mail.
If a user's details (for example his e mail address) change after registration, he must amend them accordingly on the procurement platform. Otherwise communication cannot be guaranteed. An online form is available on the platform for this purpose.
The EPO reserves the right to check the information given in the registration form.
2.4. Registered users are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of their account and password to prevent unauthorised access to that account. Users must take all necessary steps to keep their password secure and must inform the EPO without delay at firstname.lastname@example.org if it is being or could be used without authorisation.
2.5. In the event of any violation of the above user obligations, the EPO is entitled to revoke the user's access rights without prior notice.
2.6. Incorrect or incomplete information entitles the EPO to refuse registration or to delete it with immediate effect, and to exclude the user from further procurement procedures.
3. Content of right of use
3.1. The user is entitled to use the platform installations for their intended purpose. The EPO will endeavour to ensure platform access and the exchange of procurement-procedure documents. To enable them to use the platform, the EPO will provide users with the "Bietercockpit" ("bidder cockpit") program, free of charge.
3.2. Users do not have any rights in respect of the platform itself, other than those mentioned in paragraph 1. The EPO reserves all copyright, name, trademark or other IP rights.
3.3. The EPO may update the platform to new technology and legal requirements at any time. This may lead, especially in the introductory phase, to changes in platform use during ongoing electronic procurement procedures.
4. Platform availability
4.1. The EPO can close or restrict access to the platform or its electronic installations if technical overload or disruption occurs or seems likely. If this happens the EPO will endeavour to restore the platform to normal service as soon as possible.
4.2. If a user notices that platform services are disrupted, he should contact the hotline at email@example.com so that the EPO can take steps to restore normal service.
5. Use of the platform
5.1. As soon as a user takes part in a procurement procedure using the platform, a user account is created for him, for the receipt of electronic communications. By registering, the user agrees to subsequent communication with EPO procurement department occurring electronically over this user account. As soon as a new message arrives in his account, the user is informed of this by e mail at the address he has given. The user is responsible for making sure that his e mail address is correct, that these e mails get through to it properly, and that he promptly views the information provided to him on the procurement platform or bidder cockpit. Communications are deemed notified to the user when they go onto his account. When registering, users should therefore give an e mail address accessible by more than one person or by someone who is always contactable and can thus ensure that it is looked at regularly.
5.2. The EPO will not react to "out of office" messages or notifications that an e-mail has been rejected (e.g. by spam filters). In such cases it will not send the communication a second time or to an alternative e mail address.
5.3. Users may not transfer their access rights to third parties.
5.4. If access rights to the procurement platform are misused, the EPO may delete a user's registration with immediate effect and exclude him from further procurement procedures.
Users must treat confidentially any documents they download from the procurement platform, and must not publish them in any form.
5.5. If a user registers as a bidder and wishes to take part in a procurement procedure, he should at once download the complete procurement documents and save them in the bidder cockpit, because after the deadline for requesting them they are no longer downloadable even by users already registered as bidders.
5.6. Users must take due care when sending data to the procurement platform. They should therefore only send files previously subjected to a state-of-the-art scan for viruses, Trojans, etc.
6. Submitting bids
6.1. Electronic bids made using the procurement platform are legally binding, and are treated in the same way as bids received by the EPO procurement department in paper form.
6.2. Electronic bids are submitted by sending the bid over the internet in encrypted form to the EPO's procurement platform. The software then generates a separate letter, the cover sheet, with a check digit. The bidder prints out this cover sheet, signs it in a legally binding manner and posts it to the EPO procurement department in a sealed envelope bearing the subject and number of the invitation to tender and marked "Not to be opened in the post room". The check digit enables the electronic bid to be opened after the deadline for submitting bids and allocated to the signature of a specific bidder.
6.3. Requests to take part or bids are considered to have been received only once they have been stored in full on the procurement platform; the start of data transmission is not enough. The EPO guarantees server helpdesk availability only from 08.00 to 18:00 hrs, Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays).
When submitting requests to take part, applications, bids, etc., the deadlines (date and time) set in the notice or letter of invitation to tender are binding.
6.4. Users wishing to withdraw a request to take part or a bid before the deadline must do this on the platform themselves. Only then can they submit a new one.
7. Data protection and secrecy
7.1. By accepting the present Terms and Conditions, users agree to the EPO recording, storing, processing and using their personal data. Such data is confined to that necessary for conducting procurement procedures via the platform. When registering, users must indicate whether their data is to be used only for a specific procurement procedure or should also be added to a database enabling the EPO to inform them of subsequent procurement procedures in their line of work. They can change their selected option at any time. The data will not be used for any further purpose.
7.2. Users can correct their data by means of a form available on the platform.
7.3. Each user and the EPO mutually undertake to treat as confidential all information designated as such by the other party, or clearly confidential in the circumstances, to which they become privy through using the platform, and not to make it available to third parties.
8. Cancellation of registration
8.1. A user may cancel his registration at any time.
If he has submitted a bid, cancellation is possible only after withdrawal of the bid or the end of the award procedure in question.
8.2. Once a user's registration is cancelled, the EPO deletes all his recorded data except those it is obliged to archive to document an award procedure.
9. Other provisions
9.1. Use of the procurement platform is governed by German law.
9.2. Users' general terms of business do not apply, even if the EPO does not expressly contradict them.