Notice from the European Patent Office dated 2 March 2022 concerning the extension of the functionalities of Central Fee Payment
As of 1 April 2022, the EPO will add a functionality for managing deposit accounts to the central service for making and facilitating fee payments and claiming refunds – Central Fee Payment.
1. Central Fee Payment (CFP) was launched in September 2021 following a first set of improvements made in the then existing online service for making payments and claiming refunds.[ 1 ] The aim of CFP is to offer a central service for paying fees and claiming refunds online, across the entire patent grant procedure and via all permitted payment methods. To allow for a smooth transition from Online Fee Payment (OFP) to CFP, we have opted for a phased migration of functionalities, striving for the full deployment of CFP and the decommissioning of OFP in September 2022.
2. The next phase of the migration process starts on 1 April 2022 when CFP will be extended to offer an initial set of features for managing deposit accounts, such as an overview of booked and pending transactions. We will migrate the remaining OFP functionalities to CFP, including the use of the automatic debiting procedure, in September 2022. Until then, both systems will run in parallel. However, as OFP will be decommissioned, we strongly encourage you to begin familiarising yourself with CFP and start using it as soon as possible.
3. The present notice explains the features for managing deposit accounts that have already been migrated to CFP (point I). It also provides information on the format for filing batch debit orders using CFP (point II). Nearer the service's full deployment date in September, we will publish a comprehensive notice on CFP and all its functionalities, including all the information already published to date. That notice will then provide you with a single point of reference for all CFP functionalities.
I. Deposit account management in CFP
4. As of 1 April 2022, when accessing CFP with your EPO smart card,[ 2 ] you can choose between options to pay fees, claim refunds or manage deposit accounts. You can then either proceed to your deposit account overview page by selecting Deposit account management or choose the option Manage deposit account user rights to access the standard functionalities[ 3 ] for distributing or reallocating user rights for your deposit account.
5. The Overview tab shows details of your deposit account as well as your account balance and the total number of pending orders (including automatic and other online debit orders) at the time of signing in. If your smart card is linked to multiple deposit accounts, you can choose between the different accounts in the drop-down menu.
6. The Transactions tab shows a list of all transactions booked within the last 40 days. You can access transactions booked within the last two years using the filter function. Pending orders are displayed for the next 40 days. You can switch between booked and pending orders via the associated drop-down menu. Please note that CFP will not automatically issue periodic account statements. You can however create individual deposit account statements as needed by defining the required time period using the filter menu and download them in PDF or CSV format. You can also filter your transactions by application number, fee code or procedure (PCT, EP, UP).
7. You can continue to use OFP to file your debit orders and manage your deposit accounts until it is decommissioned in September 2022. Please note however that if you submit debit orders using both OFP and CFP, only the overview of pending orders in CFP will accurately reflect your current account status. This is because any debit orders filed via CFP will not be visible in the list of pending orders in OFP. CFP, on the other hand, will correctly display all pending orders irrespective of how they were filed. Therefore, in order to maintain an accurate overview of your pending orders and account balance, we strongly recommend making full use of CFP and familiarising yourself with its new functionalities as soon as possible before OFP is finally decommissioned in September 2022.
II. Format for filing fee payment files in CFP ("batch payments")
8. Batch payments can be uploaded in CFP either in XML format or as CSV files.[ 4 ] As of 1 April 2022, XML batch payments submitted via CFP must use the format batch-payment-v2-00.dtd.[ 5 ] You are therefore strongly encouraged to update your batch payments to this format as soon as possible. If you encounter problems uploading batch payment files, please make sure you are using the correct XML format. Do not hesitate to get in touch with us via the contact form[ 6 ] if you need assistance. If you are currently using the Multipay Tool to create your batch payments, please be aware that it will be decommissioned together with OFP in September 2022.
9. This notice enters into force on 1 April 2022.
[ 3 ] For further information on these functionalities, please consult the FAQ on the EPO website at epo.org/applying/online-services/administration/faq.html.
[ 5 ] Further technical information on the format of batch payments is available on the EPO website under epo.org/applying/online-services/fee-payment/batch-payments-documentation.html.