EUROPEAN PATENT OFFICE
Information from the EPO
Decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 3 February 2016 revising point 5.3 of the Arrangements for deposit accounts
Point 5.3 of the Arrangements for deposit accounts (ADA), concerning the order of priority for processing debit orders,1 shall read as follows:
"5.3 Order of priority for processing debit orders
5.3.1 The EPO processes debit orders in the following order:
(a) payments by automatic debit order,
(b) debit orders submitted online, whether using the EPO's Online Filing software or PCT-SAFE or by means of Online Fee Payment via Online services,
(c) all other debit orders, including those filed in accordance with point 6.6.
5.3.2 As a rule, the EPO books automated payments under point 5.3.1(a) and (b) within two to three working days after the decisive payment date of the fee to be debited automatically or after the date of receipt of the online debit order. Non-automated payments, i.e. debit orders filed by letter or fax using Form 1010, are normally booked within four to five working days after receipt of the debit order, because they take longer to process.
If automated and non-automated payments have to be made from the same account and it does not contain sufficient funds, the EPO processes the automated payments first, deferring the non-automated ones until the account has been sufficiently replenished to cover them as well. This applies whatever the date of receipt of the non-automated debit order. In other words, the EPO gives priority to booking automated debit orders even if non-automated ones have an earlier date of receipt.
Deposit account holders who use both automated and non-automated payment methods in parallel should therefore ensure that their account always has sufficient funds available for all debit orders submitted.
5.3.3 Subject to that, debit orders are booked in ascending order of application number ("PCT" before "EP"), unless otherwise indicated. For Euro-PCT applications, the EP number is the relevant number."
Entry into force
This decision enters into force on 1 April 2016.
Done at Munich, 3 February 2016
1 See the ADA and their annexes (as applicable from 1 April 2015) – OJ EPO supplementary publication 3/2015.