Arrangements for deposit accounts (ADA) and their annexes (valid as from 1 October 2019)

Online publication date: 11.9.2019

Arrangements for deposit accounts (ADA)

CONTENTS 

1. General provisions

2. Formalities for opening and closing an account

3. Replenishments, repayments of deposit account balances and transfers between deposit accounts

4. Conditions of operating the account

5. Debiting the account

6. Revoking a debit order

7. Automatic debiting procedure

8. Refund of fees

9. Debiting annual subscriptions of members of the Institute of Professional Representatives before the European Patent Office

1. General provisions

Under Articles 5(2) and 7(2) of its Rules relating to Fees (RFees), the EPO makes available, for any interested natural or legal person (or bodies equivalent to a legal person under the law applicable to them), deposit accounts for paying fees to the EPO. Deposit accounts are kept in euro only, at EPO headquarters in Munich.

2. Formalities for opening and closing an account

2.1 A deposit account may be opened at the request of the prospective account holder. He must provide all the necessary particulars about his person, occupation and address. This is done by completing and submitting the online request form on the EPO website under Applying for a patent -> Fees -> Fee payments and refunds. If his contact details change, the account holder must inform the EPO accordingly, also using the online request form.

2.2 A deposit account may be closed at the signed written request of the deposit account holder or his successors in title, filed by email attachment sent to support@epo.org, or by completing and submitting the online form available on the EPO website under Applying for a patent -> Fees -> Fee payments and refunds together with the signed written request. From the request it must be evident that the requester and the deposit account holder are the same person.

Successors in title must provide the EPO with documentary proof of their entitlement.

2.3 In addition, the EPO reserves the right to close any account which fails to comply with the ADA, especially their point 4.1.

2.4 On closure of the account, the credit balance is refunded by bank transfer to the holder or his successors in title, once the necessary bank account details have been supplied in writing.

2.5 A deposit account can be reopened at the request of the original account holder, made by selecting the appropriate option in the online request form referred to in point 2.1.

3. Replenishments, repayments of deposit account balances and transfers between deposit accounts

3.1 Once the deposit account has been opened, its number is communicated to the holder, who must then make an initial payment commensurate with his requirements and the intended frequency of replenishment, so as to ensure that there are sufficient funds in the account.

3.2 Payments to replenish deposit accounts must be made into the EPO's bank account. [ 1 ] The payment must include the following information in the reference field of the bank transfer: "replenishment" (or "repl" for short) or "deposit", followed by the eight-digit number (starting with 28) of the EPO deposit account concerned. [ 2 ] Replenishments are credited to the deposit account on the date on which the payment is actually entered in the EPO bank account.

3.3 Repayments of deposit account balances are possible for various reasons, e.g. closure of the deposit account or ceasing to work as a European patent attorney.

3.4 Such repayments can only be made to the deposit account holder. For this purpose, a signed substantiated request containing all bank details necessary for the transfer must be filed. The EPO may request further evidence to confirm that the person requesting repayment is authorised to act on behalf of the deposit account holder and that the bank account provided belongs to the deposit account holder.

3.5 Transfers between deposit accounts held at the EPO are possible only if the deposit account holder is the same legal entity or natural person. For this purpose, the deposit account holder must submit a signed request to the EPO. The EPO may request further evidence to confirm the account holder's identity.

3.6 The requests under points 3.4 and 3.5 must be filed by email attachment sent to support@epo.org, or by completing and submitting the online contact form available on the EPO website under https://forms.epo.org/service-support/contact-us/contact0-form.html[ 3 ] together with the signed written request.

4. Conditions of operating the account

4.1 The account holder must ensure that the account contains sufficient funds at all times. Article 7(1) RFees, the ten-day fail-safe provision of Article 7(3)(a) and (b) RFees, second half-sentence, and Article 7(4) RFees apply mutatis mutandis to replenishment payments.

4.2 Account holders can inspect their pending orders, payment plan and transactions performed, download their statements and monitor their account balances via Online Fee Payment. [ 4 ] Additionally, once the financial year has closed, a balance confirmation stating the year-end balance of the deposit account is sent by post to the deposit account holder. Any errors noted must be notified to the EPO without delay. The EPO checks this information and makes any corrections necessary, retroactively to the original decisive payment date.

4.3 A deposit account showing a zero balance with no transactions recorded in the last four years will be closed ex officio by the EPO.

A deposit account showing a positive balance with no transactions recorded in the last four years will be set ex officio to inactive by the EPO.

5. Debiting the account

Subject to point 9, deposit accounts may be debited only in respect of fees payable to the EPO in connection with European and PCT proceedings.

5.1. Types of debit orders and accepted means of filing

5.1.1 Debiting occurs only on the basis of an electronic debit order signed by the account holder or the authorised representative. The signature may take the form of a text string signature, a facsimile signature, an enhanced electronic signature, [ 5 ] or authentication with smart card if payment is made via Online Fee Payment in Online services.

The debit order may be

‒ a debit order for individual fees for one or more applications, i.e. a single or a batch debit order, or

‒ an automatic debit order[ 6 ] for a specific European or international patent application, authorising the EPO to debit fees automatically as the proceedings progress.

5.1.2 The debit order must be filed in an electronically processable format (XML) via one of the following:

‒ EPO Online Filing or the EPO case management system (CMS), using EPO Forms 1001E, 1200E, 2300E or 1038E;

‒ the EPO Online Filing software or PCT-SAFE, CMS and ePCT using the PCT fee calculation and payment feature; [ 7 ]

‒ Online Fee Payment in Online services.

5.1.3 Debit orders submitted in any other way, e.g. on paper, by fax, via the Web-Form Filing service or using a different format such as a PDF attachment or the annotation field in the online forms, are invalid and thus will not be carried out. The EPO will inform the party to the proceedings[ 8 ] accordingly, as a courtesy service. The legal consequence of filing an invalid debit order is laid down in point 5.4.2.

5.2. Order of priority for processing debit orders

5.2.1 The EPO processes debit orders that are received or that are to be executed on the same day in the following order of priority:

(a) automatic debit orders,

(b) any other debit orders.

Subject to this, debit orders are booked in ascending order of application number ("PCT" before "EP"). For Euro-PCT applications, the EP number is the relevant number.

5.2.2 If, on the date of receipt of the debit order or on the date specified under point 5.4.1, second paragraph, the account does not contain sufficient funds to cover all the fees indicated for an application (shortfall), the fees are booked in ascending order of the fee codes, as long as the funds allow. [ 9 ]

Once a debit order cannot be executed in full due to insufficient funds, no other debit order is booked until the account is duly replenished. The holder is informed accordingly by email or post.

5.2.3 Upon replenishment, the EPO processes any pending debit orders in the order of their decisive payment date or their date of receipt and the order of priority under point 5.2.1 and 5.2.2. Outstanding payments are considered to have been made on the date on which the deposit account is duly replenished.

5.2.4 As a rule, the EPO books debit orders within two working days after the decisive payment date of the fee to be debited automatically or the date of receipt of the debit order.

Deposit account holders should ensure that their account always contains sufficient funds to cover all debit orders submitted.

5.2.5 Debit orders still pending two months after the date of receipt or after the date specified under point 5.4.1, second paragraph, will not be executed by the EPO, if, on expiry of this period, any of the following conditions is met:

(a) the fee specified in the debit order was paid by another means of payment

(b) the patent application for which the debit order concerned was received is considered definitively closed within the meaning of point 5.3.2.

Such debit orders will be removed from the list of pending orders in Online Fee Payment.

5.3 Validation and rejection of payments in Online Fee Payment

5.3.1 Debit orders included in a batch or individual debit order that relate to:

(i) the payment of renewal fees for definitively closed European patent applications or granted patents

(ii) the payment of renewal fees made before the earliest valid payment dates under Rule 51(1) EPC

(iii) double-payment of fees except those listed in Annex A.3 to the ADA

(iv) the payment of fees for transfer of rights for definitively closed European patent applications

will be automatically rejected.

5.3.2 For the above purposes, a European patent application is considered to be definitively closed if the loss of rights or the refusal of the application has become final, i.e. in particular if

(i) the application is withdrawn, deemed to be withdrawn or refused and no means of redress, except a request for re-establishment of rights, has been filed,

(ii) the decision on the means of redress is negative and no appeal has been filed, or

(iii) the decision on the appeal is negative or the appeal is withdrawn.

5.3.3 A message confirming that the debit order could not be carried out is generated by the system after validation and stored in the account history. The confirmation of rejection is also uploaded to the public part of the EPO's electronic file.

5.4 Payment date

5.4.1 Provided there are sufficient funds in the deposit account on the date the EPO receives the debit order, that date will be considered as the date on which the payment is made.

The debit order may specify that a payment order is to be executed at a later date than the submission date. In that case, the payment date is deemed to be the execution date specified. Payment orders with a deferred execution date may be executed up to 40 days after the submission date.

5.4.2 If a debit order is submitted via a non-accepted means of filing or in an invalid format, the date of receipt will not be regarded as the payment date. If this means that a time limit for paying a fee has expired, the party to the proceedings[ 10 ] may make use of any of the legal remedies available under the EPC or the PCT.

5.5 Unavailability of the accepted electronic means of filing debit orders

If a payment period expires on a day on which one of the accepted means of filing debit orders under point 5.1.2 is not available at the EPO, [ 11 ] the payment period is extended to the first day thereafter on which all such means as are available for the type of application concerned can be accessed again. In the event of a general unavailability of electronic communication services, or if other like reasons within the meaning of Rule 134(5) EPC or Rule 82quater.1 PCT arise, payment periods are extended in accordance with these provisions.

5.6 Filings under Article 75(1)(b) EPC with a competent national authority

5.6.1 If a European patent application is filed under Article 75(1)(b) EPC with a competent national authority, a debit order for fees which can be paid on filing can be submitted using one of the means accepted under point 5.1.2, irrespective of how the application itself is filed. In that case, to avoid any loss of rights the debit order must be filed at the latest on expiry of the relevant time limit under the EPC or, where applicable, under the PCT. The debit order may be included with the application using mandatory Form 1020 and only if the application is filed on paper with the competent national authority.

5.6.2 If a debit order under point 5.6.1 is received by the EPO after expiry of the period for paying the fees, such period is considered to have been observed if evidence is available or is supplied to the EPO that the debit order was filed with the competent national authority together with the application, provided the account contained sufficient funds on the date on which the period expired.

5.6.3 If a debit order (Form 1020) under point 5.6.1 is received by the competent national authority before the date on which an increase in the amounts of fees pursuant to Article 2 RFees takes effect but is received by the EPO on or after that date, the date of receipt at the competent national authority is considered to be the date on which the payment is made, provided the account contained sufficient funds on that date.

5.6.4 For international applications filed with the EPO as receiving Office via a national office of an EPC contracting state pursuant to Article 151, second sentence, EPC and Article 75(2)(b) EPC, points 5.6.1 and 5.6.2 apply mutatis mutandis.

6. Revoking a debit order

6.1 A debit order may be revoked in whole or in part by signed written notice from the person making the payment filed by email attachment sent to support@epo.org, or by completing and submitting the online contact form available on the EPO website under https://forms.epo.org/service-support/contact-us/contact0-form.html[ 12 ] together with the signed written request. [ 13 ] The notice of revocation of a debit order must indicate the number of the deposit account, the number of the application or patent and, in the case of partial revocation, it must specify each fee or expense concerned.

6.2 The notice of revocation or partial revocation is not effective if received by the EPO after the date of receipt of the debit order.

6.3 This revocation procedure applies mutatis mutandis to debit orders with deferred execution dates under point 5.4.1, second paragraph.

7. Automatic debiting procedure

Deposit account holders may have their accounts debited automatically on the basis of an automatic debit order. The conditions applicable, and in particular the types of proceedings and fees covered, are laid down in the Arrangements for the automatic debiting procedure (AAD). [ 14 ]

8. Refund of fees

8.1 Fees will be refunded to any deposit account that the applicant, proprietor or appellant (if applicant or proprietor) [ 15 ] indicates in its refund instructions.

8.2 Refund instructions must be filed in an electronically processable format, via one of the following accepted means of filing, namely: OLF, CMS and ePCT using EPO Forms 1001E, 1200E, 1038E, PCT Form PCT/RO/101, PCT-SFD (eOLF) and PCT-DEMAND (eOLF).

8.3 Refund instructions submitted in any other way, e.g. on paper, by fax, via the Web-Form Filing service or using a different format such as a PDF attachment or the annotation field in the online forms, are invalid and thus will not be processed. The EPO will inform the party concerned accordingly, as a courtesy service. Until valid instructions are filed, the party concerned will be invited to claim any refunds online. [ 16 ]

8.4 In the case of a refund of fees not payable by the applicant, proprietor or appellant (if applicant or proprietor), e.g. the opposition fee, the EPO will establish ex officio whether the refund can be credited to a deposit account. Otherwise it will invite the person who made the payment to claim the refund online.

9. Debiting annual subscriptions of members of the Institute of Professional Representatives before the European Patent Office

9.1 Under the Administrative Agreement of 5 April 1993 between the European Patent Office and the Institute of Professional Representatives before the European Patent Office (epi), [ 17 ] deposit accounts may be debited with epi members' annual subscriptions as specified below upon submission of a debit order signed by the epi and based on one or more direct debiting mandates issued to the epi by the account holder and not submitted to the EPO.

9.2 Debit orders under point 9.1 are carried out with effect from the fixed debiting dates of 25 February and 25 June each year only; Rule 134(1) EPC on the extension of time limits does not apply. They are transmitted to the EPO on a data carrier specified by the EPO and comprise, in one overall sum, all annual subscriptions to be debited from a deposit account. The date of payment is that on which the account is debited.

9.3 If, after priority has been given to fees or expenses in respect of EPO publications or services, a deposit account does not contain sufficient funds on the debiting date to cover the epi debit order, the order is not carried out and is returned to the epi.

9.4 Points 5.1 to 5.5 and 6 do not apply to the debit orders under point 9.1.

 

 

[ 1 ] The following account with the Commerzbank in Germany is available for payments and transfers:

Nr. 3 338 800 00 (BLZ 700 800 00), IBAN DE20 7008 0000 0333 8800 00, BIC DRESDEFF700, Commerzbank AG, Leopoldstrasse 230, 80807 München, Germany.

[ 2 ] E.g. "replenishment 28XXXXXX", "repl 28XXXXXX" or "deposit 28XXXXXX".

[ 3 ] Under "Topic" and "Subject", please select "Fee payment and refund" and "Deposit account" from the respective drop-down menus.

[ 4 ] For details, see Applying for a patent -> Online services -> Pay fees and claim refunds -> Online Fee Payment on the EPO website.

[ 5 ] For further details, see the decision of the President dated 9 May 2018 concerning the electronic filing of documents, OJ EPO 2018, A45.

[ 6 ] See point 7 ADA, the Arrangements for automatic debiting (Annex A.1 in this supplementary publication) and Information from the EPO concerning the automatic debiting procedure (Annex A.2, loc. cit.).

[ 7 ] The payment of all fees related to PCT proceedings at the EPO may be indicated via the online filing PCT-SFD plug-in.

[ 8 ] A party to the proceedings may be e.g. an applicant, opponent, appellant or, if the party is represented, its international agent or European representative.

[ 9 ] See the description of fee codes published in the schedule of fees and expenses applicable as from 1 April 2018 (OJ EPO 2018, supplementary publication 2). Since the additional fee for a European patent application comprising more than 35 pages (fee codes 501 and 520) forms part of the filing fee, it is booked together with the filing fee.

[ 10 ] A party to the proceedings may be e.g. an applicant, opponent, appellant or, if the party is represented, its international agent or European representative.

[ 11 ] See also notice from the EPO dated 18 January 2018 concerning the safeguards available under the EPC and the PCT in case of unavailability of means of electronic communication (OJ EPO 2018, A25).

[ 12 ] Under "Topic" and "Subject", please select "Fee payment and refund" and "Revocation of debit order" from the respective drop-down menus.

[ 13 ] Exceptionally, the request may also be filed by fax sent to the Munich central fax number +49 89 2399-4465.

[ 14 ] See Annex A.1 in this supplementary publication. See also Annex A.2 in this supplementary publication for information from the EPO concerning the automatic debiting procedure.

[ 15 ] If the party is represented, its international agent or European representative.

[ 16 ] See notice from the EPO dated 20 August 2019 concerning the revised fee refund procedures (OJ EPO September 2019).

[ 17 ] See Annex B.1 in this supplementary publication.

Quick Navigation