Terms and conditions for the licensing of EPO databases

  1. Scope

    1.1   These terms and conditions apply to the licensing of the databases provided by the European Patent Organisation ("EPO") and listed in point 14 of the brochure "EPO Patent Information Products and Services – Price list". These databases are hereinafter referred to as "EPO databases".

    1.2   The EPO has incurred considerable expense in creating the EPO databases. These expenses qualify as a qualitatively and quantitatively substantial investment within the meaning of Section 87a of the German Copyright Act (Urheberrechtsgesetz).

  2. Conclusion of contract

    Acceptance of the present terms and conditions and provision of all required contact and, where applicable, invoicing details by the user ("the licensee") constitutes an offer to the EPO to conclude a contract for the licensing of the selected EPO database. The EPO may accept this offer, in which case a contract is concluded between the EPO and the licensee. The EPO will send its acceptance by email.

  3. Single orders and subscriptions, automatic renewal

    3.1   The EPO databases – except for backfiles and PATSTAT, for which single orders are possible – are available only on a subscription basis.

    3.2   In the case of a subscription, the licensee receives a copy of the EPO database in its most recent version as well as all updates during the subscription period. All subscriptions run per calendar year. Even if the EPO database is ordered after the year has started, the licensee will receive full information for the entire calendar year.

    3.3   Subscriptions are extended automatically for a further calendar year unless the contract is terminated in accordance with Article 16.

    3.4   In the case of a single order for a backfile or PATSTAT, the licensee receives a copy of the EPO database in its most recent version.

  4. Delivery

    4.1   Within 30 (thirty) days of conclusion of the contract, the EPO will deliver the EPO database and any updates to the licensee either on a physical carrier or by making the data available for downloading by the licensee.

    4.2   The technical details of the EPO databases, the format of the data and the information required for downloading are specified on the "Raw data" page of the EPO website.

    4.3   The EPO does not bear the licensee's costs of incorporating downloaded data or the contents of data carriers or parts of them into the licensee's computer system.

    4.4   Delivery, including any taxes, duties or charges payable, is at the expense of the licensee, who agrees to accept responsibility for any damage or loss during transportation.

  5. Scope of right to use the EPO databases

    5.1   Upon conclusion of the contract the licensee receives a non-exclusive, non-transferable, worldwide licence to use the selected EPO database. Rights of third parties to the data in the EPO database remain unaffected.

    5.2   The licensee may use the EPO database for his own internal business purposes or to create his own product, this being defined as the licensee's own machine-readable database, publication, service or other product which contains or is made on the basis of data from the EPO database. A copy of the EPO database or of the data from the EPO database as such is not a product allowed under these terms and conditions.

    5.3   The licensee may make one back-up copy of the EPO database as well as further copies of the EPO database on his IT systems to the extent necessary to use the EPO database as provided for in these terms and conditions.

    5.4   The licensee must not make the EPO database or a copy thereof or the data as such available to the public. He must not distribute the data as such without including them in a product of his own, unless expressly authorised to do so by the EPO in writing.

    5.5   The licensee must not provide online access to the EPO database, except as part of one of his own products.

    5.6   The licensee must not use any address data included in the EPO database for advertising, promotional, spamming or other commercial purposes. He must not use the data for the rating of natural persons.

    5.7   All wrongful use of the data, especially any use in connection with an activity liable to convey the impression that the licensee is entitled or qualified to register, renew or otherwise administer industrial property rights with legal effect, is prohibited.

  6. Security

    6.1   The licensee must ensure that the EPO databases, or a copy or back-up copy thereof, be it in whole or in part, do not leave his control and cannot be accessed by third parties.

    6.2   The licensee must take all necessary security measures to ensure the integrity of the original EPO databases and to safeguard them from unauthorised – be it in whole or in part – access, copying, changing, translation, adaptation and use. These measures must be at least equal to and not less stringent than those taken by him to protect his own like data or other similar databases, and in any event must not fall short of a reasonable degree of care. At the EPO's request, the licensee must inform it without undue delay of all measures taken by him to comply with this Article.

  7. Subcontracting

    7.1   Where the licensee makes use of the services of a subcontractor, he may make the EPO databases or data available to the subcontractor to the extent required to perform the services.

    7.2   The licensee must ensure that the subcontractor uses the EPO databases or data only to perform the services for the licensee and does not keep any copy of the EPO databases or data after having performed those services.

    7.3   The licensee must require that the subcontractor meet the same conditions as to security, confidentiality and data protection as are laid down in these terms and conditions.

  8. Transfer to an affiliate

    8.1   By way of exception to Article 5.1, licensees may transfer their licence to an affiliate. In such cases, they must cease to use the EPO databases themselves and must not keep any copy of the EPO databases.

    8.2   An affiliate is any legal entity which directly or indirectly controls the licensee, is directly or indirectly controlled by the licensee, or is under common control with the licensee. Control means direct or indirect ownership of more than 50% of the capital stock or the voting rights in such a legal entity.

  9. Prices and payment

    9.1   The licensee must pay the prices specified in the price list. Where online access to and downloading of the EPO databases is free of charge, no payment is due.

    9.2   Payment must be made as specified in the price list. Payment is normally due after delivery. Where it considers it necessary, however, the EPO is entitled to make a delivery dependent on prior payment.

    9.3   No royalties are due to the EPO for the sale or licensing of products by the licensee.

  10. Promotion of products and attribution clause

    10.1   The licensee is prohibited from using the EPO's name or logo in connection with the promotion of his products.

    10.2   The licensee must include in his products, websites and other interfaces through which his products can be accessed the following attribution statement: "This product contains data sourced from EPO databases, © European Patent Organisation". Whenever technically possible, the hyperlink must be embedded in the words "European Patent Organisation".

    10.3   Any use of the EPO's name other than as specified in Article 10.2 and any use of the EPO's logo are strictly prohibited.

    10.4   At the EPO's request, the licensee must give it access free of charge to his products for monitoring purposes and, for a period of eight weeks, to a test version of those products.

  11. Quality and format of EPO databases and data

    11.1   The quality, content, coverage and format of the EPO databases and data, and the frequency of their updates, are exhaustively defined in the general specifications set out in the price list and the documentation referred to therein. For the avoidance of doubt, only the description current at the date of the delivery is relevant.

    11.2   The EPO may modify the frequency of updates and the format of the EPO databases. It will give licensees advance notice of any such modifications by email. Licensees who object to the modifications can terminate the contract in accordance with Article 16.3.

    11.3   Should licensees become aware of the existence of non-compliant data, they must inform the EPO without undue delay.

  12. Liability

    12.1   The licensee is liable to compensate the EPO in accordance with the applicable statutory provisions for all damage or expenses it suffers as a result of a culpable breach by him of his contractual obligations.

    12.2   Without prejudice to Article 9 of the European Patent Convention, the EPO is liable only for damage caused by an intentional or grossly negligent breach of its duty by its employees, statutory representatives or auxiliary persons. Where a claim for damages against the EPO is based on simple negligence on the part of the EPO (including the persons listed above), the EPO is liable only for death, personal injury or damage to health or for claims based on a breach of an essential contractual obligation. In the latter case, if the claimant is an entrepreneur within the meaning of Section 14 of the German Civil Code, the EPO's liability is limited to typical and foreseeable damage.

  13. Warranty and limitation of liability

    13.1   The EPO warrants that, with regard to content, coverage, updates and format, the EPO databases are in accordance with the general specifications set out in the price list and the documentation referred to therein. In the event that an EPO database does not conform with such specifications, the only obligation of the EPO will be to make, at no additional charge or expense to the licensee and within a reasonable timeframe, all corrections that are necessary to ensure conformity. The EPO may choose either to rectify the non-conformity or to provide the licensee with a new copy of the EPO database. If the EPO informs the licensee that corrections are available, the licensee must incorporate them without undue delay. The licensee releases the EPO from all third-party claims arising from a failure to make such corrections or a failure to do so in due time.

    13.2   The EPO makes no warranty, express or implied, as to the completeness and accuracy of the EPO databases or their merchantability or fitness for a particular use or purpose. Any implied liability is hereby disclaimed.

    Without prejudice to Article 12 above, the EPO is not liable for any damages, including, but not limited to, direct, indirect, special, incidental, punitive, exemplary or consequential damages, arising from the use or inability to use an EPO database, even if the EPO is advised of the possibility that damage may be caused.

    13.3   Any claims for defects become time-barred one year after delivery of the EPO databases or data in question to the licensee. The licensee must submit any claims relating to an obvious defect in writing without undue delay and at the latest within one month of delivery of the EPO databases or data in question.

  14. Confidential information and data protection

    14.1   The EPO must keep confidential and not disclose to others any confidential information it may acquire about any aspect of the licensee's business or products, the identity of the licensee's customers, or any aspect of those customers' business, unless the licensee has given his prior written consent.

    14.2   As an exception to Article 14.1, the EPO may disclose such information to entities or persons who are customarily responsible for overseeing its operation, whether or not such entities or persons are legally separate from or employed by it. The EPO may also use such information internally for purposes falling within the scope of the contract and for auditing and statistical purposes.

    14.3   At the licensee's request, the EPO must return all confidential information to the licensee or, if so instructed by the licensee, destroy it upon termination of the contract and must certify for the licensee that this obligation has been complied with.

    14.4   The foregoing provisions of this Article do not apply to any disclosure or retention of documents which is required by law, a court order or for audit purposes or to information which is in or enters the public domain.

    14.5   The licensee must ensure that, irrespective of whether or not the licensee is located within of the European Economic Area, personal data (i.e. data that allows the licensee to identify other persons, in particular personal data relating to inventors or applicants) is processed in accordance with all applicable data protection laws and regulations and in any event in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2016/679 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation). This shall also apply to any processing of personal data by other persons acting under the authority of or in collaboration with the licensee (e.g. the licensee’s employees, affiliates, subcontractors, etc.) to whom the licensee makes the EPO databases or data available in accordance with these terms and conditions for the licensing of EPO databases. Any onward transfers of personal data to a recipient outside of the European Economic Area shall only be permitted provided that the requirements of Articles 44 et seq. General Data Protection Regulation are complied with.

    14.6   Without prejudice to any applicable national provisions on data protection, both the EPO and the licensee remain bound by the provisions of this Article for a period of five years after termination of the contract.

  15. Proprietary rights

    The licensee recognises the EPO's copyright in the EPO databases. Save as expressly provided for in these terms and conditions, no rights to or property in the EPO databases are passed to the licensee.

  16. Duration and termination of contract

    16.1   The contract concluded between the EPO and the licensee on the basis of the present terms and conditions is of indefinite duration.

    16.2   The EPO and the licensee each have the right to terminate the contract at the end of a calendar year, in writing or by email, with a notice period of three months before the end of that calendar year.

    16.3   If, after expiry of the period for termination, the terms and conditions are amended in accordance with Article 17, the price of a subscription is increased by more than 5% (five per cent) compared to the previous calendar year or the frequency of updates or the format is changed by the EPO in accordance with Article 11.2, the licensee may exceptionally terminate the contract with immediate effect by giving notice in writing or by email within one month of receipt of notification of the price increase or change.

    16.4   The EPO addresses for giving notice of termination are:

    European Patent Office
    Customer Service Centre
    Post box 90
    1031 Vienna


    16.5   The EPO has the right to terminate the contract at any time without notice for serious breach of contract by the licensee. A serious breach is, in particular, a violation of Article 5.4, 5.5, 5.6, 5.7, 5.8, 10.1, 10.3 or 14.5.

    16.6   After termination of the contract, the licensee will continue to have a right to use any and all data previously supplied by the EPO under the contract but will not receive, and have no right to receive, any future data updates.

  17. Amendments of the terms and conditions

    17.1   The EPO reserves the right to amend these terms and conditions at any time. It will notify licensees of any such amendments by email.

    17.2   Licensees who object to the amendments can terminate the contract in accordance with Article 16.3.

    17.3   For licensees who do not terminate the contract, the amendments will take effect two months after the date of their notification. The EPO will draw licensees' attention to this consequence and to their right of termination when informing them of any amendments.

  18. Applicable law and disputes

    18.1   The contract concluded between the EPO and the licensee is governed by German law, excluding the provisions of German private international law. The United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods does not apply.

    18.2   Any disputes arising from or in connection with the contract will be finally settled by binding arbitration with one single arbitrator in accordance with the provisions of the German Code of Civil Procedure (ZPO). The venue for arbitration is Munich.

    18.3   If the EPO waives its immunity from national jurisdiction, the sole legal venue for any dispute arising from or in connection with the contract is Munich.

  19. General

    Should a clause of the contract be or become invalid, the remainder of the contract remains in force. The invalid clause must be replaced by a valid clause coming closest to achieving the object and purpose of the invalid clause.

Version 3.0 - 11.2019