EUROPEAN PATENT OFFICE
Information from the EPO
Notice from the European Patent Office dated 6 June 2017 concerning the addition of a validation functionality to Online Fee Payment
To offer more flexibility and safeguards for account holders, a validation functionality has been added to the Online Fee Payment service. This new functionality, operational from 5 July 2017, is aimed at enhancing the refund procedure by enabling the Office to automatically reject, at source, debit orders included in a batch debit order submitted via the Online Fee Payment tool which relate to payment of renewal fees (or additional fees) for "definitively closed" European patent applications or granted patents, or to payments for transfers of rights in respect of such applications.
The validation functionality has the advantage that fees which are not due will not be debited, thereby reducing the refund-processing burden on both users and the EPO.
It is being introduced by adding a new point 6.9 to the Arrangements for deposit accounts (ADA).
According to new point 6.9 ADA, 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if the loss of rights or the refusal of the application has become final, i.e. in particular if (i) the application is withdrawn, deemed to be withdrawn or refused and no means of redress, except a request for re-establishment of rights, has been filed, (ii) the decision on the means of redress is negative and no appeal has been filed, or (iii) the decision on the appeal is negative or the appeal is withdrawn. Also, 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.