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Terms and conditions for the delivery and use of patent information products

November 2017

1. Scope

These General Conditions shall apply to all orders from a customer accepted by the European Patent Organisation (EPO) for EPO information products, namely data and/or software and/or services (hereinafter referred to as "Products") delivered by the EPO to the customer on paper, on a data carrier or by internet or other electronic means onto a data carrier of the customer, specified in the order and shall also apply to the use of any information and software which such products contain.

2. Conclusion of contract

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

3. Extent of right to use the products

3.1 Products are delivered to customers for their own use only. Customers must not make any copy of a product, unless this is expressly permitted by mandatory rules of law.

3.2 If the product includes software, customers acquire a non-exclusive, non-transferable, worldwide licence for their own use only. The software may be stored on the hard disk of the customer's computer. It is prohibited to make any copy other than one copy for back-up purposes. The software must not be disassembled, decompiled and/or modified except where this is expressly permitted under mandatory rules of law.

If the product includes an online service, customers acquire a non-exclusive, non-transferable, worldwide licence to access the service and use the data obtained via the service. Customers may use the data themselves or as a basis to perform a service of their own, but they may not copy or distribute (any part of) the data except where this is expressly permitted by mandatory rules of law.

3.3 The customer must not use any address data included in the product for advertising, promotional or spamming purposes.

3.4 All wrongful use of the data, especially any use in connection with an activity liable to convey the impression that the customer is entitled or qualified to register, renew or otherwise administer industrial property rights with legal effect, is prohibited. The customer must not pass data from the product on to third parties for such purposes.

3.5 Should a customer contravene any of the restrictions laid down above, the EPO will be entitled to revoke the right to use the product with immediate effect and without prejudice to any further claims for damages on the part of the EPO.

4. Single orders and subscriptions, automatic renewal and termination

4.1 Orders are either for a one-off delivery of a product ("single order") or for a subscription.

4.2 All subscriptions run per calendar year. They commence on the date mentioned in the order or – if no date is indicated – on the date of receipt of the order by the EPO.

4.3 Products may be ordered after the year has started. Depending on the product, the customer will then receive either full information for the entire calendar year or information as from the date of commencement of the subscription until the end of the calendar year. In the latter case, the price is calculated pro rata.

4.4 Subscriptions are extended automatically for a further calendar year unless terminated in accordance with Article 4.5 at least three months before the end of the calendar year.

4.5 All correspondence, especially regarding subscription, termination, cancellation, and defect liability claims, must be conducted either in writing or by email. The EPO's addresses for such correspondence are:
European Patent Office
Customer Service Centre
Post box 90
1031 Vienna
Email: csc@epo.org

5. Attendance at seminars, conferences or training events

5.1 Attendance is subject to prior registration and prior payment of the fees.

5.2 Customers may cancel their registration in accordance with Article 4.5 free of charge up to 28 (twenty-eight) days before the start date of the event, in which case the EPO will reimburse any fees paid.

5.3 If customers cancel their registration later than provided under Article 5.2, the EPO will not reimburse the paid fees.

5.4 The EPO reserves the right to cancel an event up to 21 (twenty-one) days before the planned start of the event. If an event is cancelled, the EPO will reimburse any fees paid.

5.5 The above provisions are without prejudice to consumer rights of cancellation.  

6. Consumer rights

6.1 Customers who are consumers within the meaning of Section 13 of the German Civil Code may cancel their order within 14 (fourteen) days of receipt of the product. Such customers may cancel their registration for an event within 14 (fourteen) days of registration, unless the event has already taken place.
Customers must give notice of cancellation in accordance with Article 4.5 before the end of the 14 (fourteen) day period. They must send back any product received within 14 (fourteen) days of sending their notice of cancellation.

6.2 If an order or registration for an event is cancelled in accordance with Article 6.1, and once any returned products have been received, the EPO will reimburse any fees paid. It will not, however, reimburse return shipping costs.

6.3 The right of cancellation under Article 6.1 does not apply to individualised services (watch services, translations, legal status services, search services, etc.), patent information products, software where the seal on the carrier has been broken or to online data delivery.

7. Prices of single orders and subscriptions

7.1 The prices of single orders and of the first year of a subscription are calculated by reference to the price list valid on the day the order is received.

7.2  Subscription prices are fixed by the EPO in good time before the start of each calendar year.

7.3  If, on expiry of the period for termination, the price of a subscription is increased by more than 5% (five per cent) compared to the previous calendar year, customers may exceptionally terminate their subscription by giving notice in accordance with Article 4.5 within one month of receipt of notification of the price increase.

7.4  The prices in the price list do not include the costs of despatch and packaging. Where applicable, these costs will be added and specified separately in the invoice.

7.5 Unless otherwise provided on the invoice, payment must be made net and without any deduction within one month of receipt of the invoice at the latest. Except for attendance at seminars, conferences or training events, payment is normally due after delivery of the products. However, the EPO is entitled to make a delivery dependent on prior payment, where it considers this necessary.

8. Delivery

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

9. Liability

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.

10. Defects

10.1 Defects are product defects which existed at the time of despatch to the customer by the EPO; in the case of data carriers and software, this is subject to the condition that they are used on the computer hardware and with the operating systems for which they are intended, as indicated in the current version of the product's specifications.

10.2 No warranty is given or representation made, either express or implied, with respect to the quality of the products provided, their performance or their fitness for a particular purpose. The EPO accepts no responsibility for the completeness and correctness of the data supplied or for the timely delivery of the products ordered. The EPO does not guarantee that the software will meet the customer's requirements or will operate in an error-free manner.

10.3 The EPO remedies defects by way of either correction or substitution but reserves the right to test the products to ascertain whether they are defective.

If the EPO does not comply with its obligation to remedy defects, or if the remedy fails, the customer may pay an appropriately reduced price for the product or return it to the EPO; in the latter case the EPO will reimburse the price paid for the product. This right applies only to the defective product.

10.4 The aforementioned defect liability claims become time-barred one year after delivery of the products to the customer. Claims relating to an obvious defect must be submitted in accordance with Article 4.5 without delay and at the latest within one month of delivery of the product to the customer.  

11. Data protection

The customer must ensure that personal data is processed in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations, in particular Directive 95/46/EC on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and, as from 25 May 2018, 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 repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation).

12. Amendments of the terms and conditions

12.1 The EPO reserves the right to amend these terms and conditions at any time. It will inform subscription holders of any such amendments by email.

12.2 Subscription holders who object to an amendment can terminate their subscription by giving notice in accordance with Article 4.5 within one month of receipt of notification of the amendment.

12.3 For all subscription holders who do not terminate their subscription, the amendment will take effect two months after the date of the email informing them of it. The EPO will draw their attention to this consequence and to their right of termination when informing them of the amendment.

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