Arrangements for deposit accounts (ADA) and their annexes (valid as from 10 September 2022)

Online publication date: 10.8.2022

Arrangements for deposit accounts (ADA)

CONTENTS 

1. General provisions

2. Formalities for opening and closing an account

3. Replenishments

4. Repayments of deposit account balances

5. Transfers between deposit accounts

6. Conditions of operating the account

7. Debiting the account

8. Ex-officio cancellation of debit orders

9. Validation and rejection of payments in Central Fee Payment

10. Payment date

11. Unavailability of the accepted electronic means of filing debit orders

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

13. Revoking a debit order

14. Automatic debiting procedure

15. Refund of fees

16. 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, who must provide all the necessary particulars about their identity, occupation and address. This is done by completing and submitting the online request form available on the EPO website under Applying for a patent -> Fees -> Fee payments and refunds. Account holders must inform the EPO of any change in their contact details, also using this online request form on the website or, alternatively, the one they can access from their account overview in Central Fee Payment. They can likewise open an additional deposit account using the request form in Central Fee Payment.

2.2 A deposit account may be closed at the signed written request of the deposit account holder or their successors in title, filed by email attachment sent to support@epo.org or submitted together with the completed online form available either on the EPO website under Applying for a patent -> Fees
-> Fee payments and refunds or in the account overview in Central Fee Payment. It must be evident from the written request 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 6.1.

2.4 On closure of the account, the credit balance is refunded by bank transfer to the holder or their 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

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 their 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 in euro into the EPO 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 ]

3.3 Replenishments are credited to the deposit account on the date on which the payment is actually entered in the EPO bank account.

4. Repayments of deposit account balances

4.1 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.

4.2 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.

5. Transfers between deposit accounts

5.1 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.

5.2 The requests under points 4.2 and 5.1 must be filed by email attachment sent to support@epo.org, or by submission together with the completed online contact form available on the EPO website at forms.epo.org/service-support/contact-us/contact0-form.html.[ 3 ]

6. Conditions of operating the account

6.1 The account holder must ensure that the account contains sufficient funds at all times.

6.2 Account holders can inspect their pending single and automatic debit orders and transactions performed, create their statements and monitor their account balances via Central 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.

6.3 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.

7. Debiting the account

Subject to point 16, deposit accounts may be debited only in respect of fees payable to the EPO in connection with European and PCT proceedings.

7.1 Types of debit orders and accepted means of filing

7.1.1 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 Central Fee Payment.

The debit order may be

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

‒ an automatic debit order[ 6 ] for one or more patent applications, authorising the EPO to debit fees automatically as the proceedings progress.

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

‒ EPO Online Filing using EPO Forms 1001E, 1200E, 2300E or 1038E, or Online Filing 2.0 using EPO Forms 1001E, 1200E or 1038E;

‒ EPO Online Filing or ePCT using the PCT fee calculation and payment feature, or Online Filing 2.0 using the PCT fee calculator and payment feature[ 7 ] with Forms PCT/RO/101 and PCT/IPEA/401;

‒ Central Fee Payment.

7.1.3 Debit orders submitted in any other way, e.g. on paper, by fax, via the EPO 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 legal consequence of filing an invalid debit order is laid down in point 10.3.

7.2 Processing of debit orders

7.2.1 As a rule, the EPO processes debit orders immediately upon their receipt, provided there are sufficient funds in the deposit account. Automatic debit orders are processed at the end of the day marking the decisive payment date in accordance with point 4.4 AAD.

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

7.3 Order of priority for processing debit orders

Debit orders for payments for multiple applications are processed in ascending order of application number ("PCT" before "EP"). For Euro-PCT applications, the EP number is the relevant number.

Individual fees are booked in the following order of priority, for as long as sufficient funds are available:

(a) appeal fee (011)

(b) opposition fee (010)

(c) all other fees in ascending order of their fee codes.[ 8 ]

7.4 Insufficient funds (shortfall)

7.4.1 If, on the date of receipt of the debit order or on any later date of execution specified under point 10.2, the account does not contain sufficient funds to cover all the fees indicated for an application (shortfall), no other debit order is booked until the account is adequately replenished. The account holder is informed accordingly by email or post.

7.4.2 Once the deposit account is replenished, the EPO processes any pending debit orders in the order of their decisive payment date, their date of receipt or their later date of execution specified under point 10.2 and in the following order of priority:

(a) automatic debit orders,

(b) any other debit orders.

Subject to this, debit orders are booked in accordance with point 7.3.

7.4.3 Outstanding payments are considered to have been made on the date on which the deposit account is duly replenished.

7.5 Safety-net provision for replenishments of deposit accounts

7.5.1 Where a payment is considered under point 7.4.3 to have been made only after expiry of a period in which it should have been made, the EPO will deem that period to have been observed if evidence is provided within a period to be specified by it that

(a) a SEPA ("Single European Payment Area") Credit Transfer for adequate replenishment of the deposit account was ordered at least one day before expiry of the period for paying the fee;

(b) a SEPA Instant Credit Transfer for adequate replenishment of the deposit account was ordered at the latest on the last day of the period for paying the fee;

(c) any other type of order for adequate replenishment of the deposit account was given to a banking establishment located in an EPC contracting state not participating in the SEPA[ 9 ] at least three days before expiry of the period for paying the fee.

7.5.2 If no evidence is provided or if the evidence is insufficient, the period for paying the fee will be deemed not to have been observed. The party to the proceedings[ 10 ] may then make use of any of the legal remedies available under the EPC or the PCT.

8. Ex-officio cancellation of debit orders

8.1 Debit orders still pending two months after the date of receipt or after the date specified under point 10.2 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 9.2.

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

9. Validation and rejection of payments in Central Fee Payment

9.1 Debit orders included in batch or individual debit orders that relate to:

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

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

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

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

will be automatically rejected.

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

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

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

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

9.3 A message confirming that the debit order could not be carried out is generated by the system after validation and stored in the Rejected fee payment history under Fees or under Deposit account management -> Rejections. The confirmation of rejection is also uploaded to the public part of the EPO's electronic file.

10. Payment date

10.1 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.

10.2 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.

10.3 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 may make use of any of the legal remedies available under the EPC or the PCT.

11. 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 7.1.2 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 filing and other online 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.

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

12.1 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 7.1.2, 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, together with refund instructions, may also be included with the application using mandatory Form 1020, but only if the application is filed on paper with the competent national authority.

12.2 If a debit order (Form 1020) under point 12.1 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.

12.3 If a debit order (Form 1020) under point 12.1 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.

12.4 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 12.1 and 12.2 apply mutatis mutandis.

13. Revoking a debit order

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

13.2 A debit order with a deferred payment date pursuant to point 10.2 may be revoked in whole or in part in Central Fee Payment until one day before the date specified as the execution date at the latest. However, it may still be revoked on the date specified as the execution date by following the procedure under point 13.1.

13.3 The notice of revocation or partial revocation is not effective if it is received by the EPO after the date of receipt of the debit order or the date specified under point 13.2 or if it is submitted in a form other than specified in point 13.1.

14. 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).[ 13 ]

15. Refund of fees

15.1 Fees will be refunded to any deposit account that the applicant, proprietor or appellant (if applicant or proprietor)[ 14 ] indicates in its refund instructions.

15.2 Refund instructions must be filed in an electronically processable format, via one of the following accepted means of filing: EPO Online Filing and Online Filing 2.0 using EPO Forms 1001E, 1200E or 1038E, and ePCT using PCT Form PCT/RO/101, PCT-SFD (EPO Online Filing) or PCT/IPEA/401 (EPO Online Filing and Online Filing 2.0).

15.3 Refund instructions submitted in any other way, e.g. on paper, by fax, via the EPO 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. Until valid instructions are filed, the party concerned will be invited to claim any refunds online.[ 15 ]

15.4 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.

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

16.1 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),[ 16 ] 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.

16.2 Debit orders under point 16.1 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.

16.3 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.

16.4 Points 7.1 to 7.4.3, 9 to 11 and 13 do not apply to the debit orders under point 16.1.

 

 

[ 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 -> Using Central Fee Payment on the EPO website or notice from the EPO dated 19 July 2022 concerning Central Fee Payment.

[ 5 ] For further details, see decision of the President dated 14 May 2021 concerning the electronic filing of documents, OJ EPO 2021, A42.

[ 6 ] See point 14 ADA, the Arrangements for automatic debiting (Annex A.1 in this supplementary publication) and the 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 PCT-SFD plug-in in Online Filing and Online Filing 2.0.

[ 8 ] See the description of fee codes published in the Schedule of fees and expenses applicable as from 1 April 2022 (OJ EPO 2022, 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.

[ 9 ] As at the date of entry of force: Albania, Serbia and Turkey.

[ 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 22 October 2020 concerning the procedures and safeguards which apply under the EPC and the PCT in the event of outages of means of electronic filing and other online services (OJ EPO 2020, A120).

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

[ 13 ] 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.

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

[ 15 ] See notice from the EPO dated 20 August 2019 concerning the revised fee refund procedures (OJ EPO 2019, A82).

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

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