Taxes

Chapter 1. Tax Requirement

Contents

Chapter 1. Tax Requirement

Section 1.1. Due date #8217;

1.1.1. Principle

1.1.2. exceptions

1.1.3. Taxes paid before the due date

Chapter 2. Payment of taxes

Section 2.1. Currencies

Section 2.2. Who can pay

Section 2.3. Payment details

Section 2.4. Means of payment

2.4.1. Principle

2.4.2. Cash payment

2.4.3. Payment by current account

1) Opening

2) Supply

3) Account statement

4) Account debit

5) Debit of the implicit account?

6) Inadequate flow and supply

7) For filing with #8217; a service of 1 Contracting State

8) Revocation of a debit order

9) Automatic withdrawal

10) Closing

2.4.4. Payment by credit card

2.4.5. checks

2.4.6. Payment by deduction of #8217; a tax to be reimbursed by the EPO

Section 2.5. Calculation of the amount of the tax

Section 2.6. Insufficient payment

2.6.1. Principle

2.6.2. Minimal missing part

1) Principle

2) In the case of a debit order

3) Is minimal

4) N & #8217; is not minimal

Section 2.7. Other errors during payment

Section 2.8. Fee schedule applicable to payment

Section 2.9. Modification of the scale and incorrect amount

Chapter 3. Date on which a payment is deemed to have been made

Section 3.1. Principle

Section 3.2. In the case of a debit order from a current account

Section 3.3. Case of #8217; direct debit from #8217; current account

Section 3.4. Deemed payment made on time (10-day rule)

3.4.1. Delay

3.4.2. Reputed paid on time

3.4.3. Possible surcharge

3.4.4. Procedure

3.4.5. Payment of a tax with surcharge

3.4.6. Case of #8217; supply of a current account

Chapter 4. Reimbursement of taxes

Section 4.1. Taxes paid without cause

Section 4.2. Taxes not validly paid

Section 4.3. Recipients of the refund

Section 4.4. Repayment Terms

Section 4.5. Reimbursement of insignificant amounts

Section 4.6. Special case of the refund of the search fee

4.6.1. Complete refund

4.6.2. Full or partial refund

1) European or complementary research

2) International Searches (EPO / ISA)

3) Full / partial reuse criteria

4) Refund procedure

Section 4.7. Special case of reimbursement of the examination fee

4.7.1. Complete refund

4.7.2. Partial refund

Hide changes

Section 1.1. Due date #8217;

1.1.1. Principle

The due date is the first day from which the tax can be validly paid (AX Guidelines 5.1.1).

Normally, the due date arises from the EPC (A4 (1) RRT).

If this is not the case, the due date is the date of the request for execution of a service at the EPO (#8217;A4 (1) RRT) subject to a tax.

1.1.2. exceptions

There are only two exceptions to this principle (AX Guidelines 5.1.1):

  • annual fees (which can be validly paid 3 months before the deadline / before its due date, R51 (1) EPC);
  • taxes paid voluntarily in response to the R71 (3) EPC while changes are also submitted (CV 4.2 Guidelines).

1.1.3. Taxes paid before the due date

If a tax is paid before it is due (and with the exceptions mentioned above), this tax is normally refunded, unless the payment was made only a short time before (even if the payment only becomes valid from #8217; from the date due, AX Guidelines 5.1.1).

There is also an exception to this principle concerning the designation fee: this fee is normally due on the date on which the mention of the publication of the European search report is published, but if it is paid before the date of due (ex . filing of the application) the designation fee will not be refunded automatically (AX 5.2.2 Guidelines) unless the application is abandoned before the due date.

Chapter 2. Payment of taxes

Section 2.1. Currencies

Payments to the EPO are made in euros (A5 (1) RRT).

Any other currency is refused (& #8220;Press release dated October 1, 2001 relating to the & #8217; introduction of the & #8217; euro” , OJ 2001, 524, art 3).

Section 2.2. Who can pay

Any tax can be paid by n & #8217; any person (AX 1 Guidelines).

Section 2.3. Payment details

All payments must include (A6 (1) RRT):

  • a name of the person making the payment;
  • the data necessary to easily identify the object of payment.

If the object of payment is not easily identifiable, the EPO invites the requester to indicate this object within a specified time (A6 (2) RRT).

However, if the object of payment is manifestly incorrect and the rest of the information provided allow the real object of payment to be determined without difficulty (AX 7.1.2 Guidelines), then the EPO will correct the object on its own.

Otherwise, payment is deemed null and void (A6 (2) RRT).

Section 2.4. Means of payment

2.4.1. Principle

Payments to the EPO can be made (A5 (1) RRT):

  • payment;
  • transfer.

2.4.2. Cash payment

Payment by cash directly to EPO #8217 is not possible.

However, the payment by installment of cash at the counter of #8217; a bank is actually a payment by installment intended for a bank account of the Office (#8217;J7 / 81).

The payment date is deemed to be the date on which the amount of the payment is credited to & #8217; a bank account of the & #8217; Office (J7 / 81).

2.4.3. Payment by current account

1) Opening

Any natural or legal person can open a current account with the EPO (2.1 RCC, & #8220;Regulation on current accounts” , OJ 5/2017, additional publication, p11).

2) Supply

The supply of the current account is made by a transfer to an account of the EPO by indicating (3.2 RCC, & #8220;Regulation on current accounts” , OJ 5/2017, additional publication, p11):

  • the mention & #8220; supply & #8221; (or l & #8217; abbreviation & #8220; appro & #8221;) or & #8220; depot & #8221 ;,
  • followed by the eight-digit number (starting with 28) of the relevant current account of the EPO.

The EPO has an account in almost every member state with a national bank (see & #8220;Euro accounts of the European Patent Organization” , OJ 4/2014, supplementary publication, p64).

The date of payment is then the date when the payment is credited to this account (3.2 RCC, & #8220;Regulation on current accounts” , OJ 5/2017, additional publication, p11).

3) Account statement

The account holder can view the status of their account online (4.2 RCC, & #8220;Regulation on current accounts” , OJ 5/2017, additional publication, p11 modified by & #8220;Decision of the President of #8217; European Patent Office, dated February 19, 2019, amending the regulations applicable to current accounts (RCC)“, OJ 2019, A20).

(modified on 12/22/2019)

In addition, an account balance is sent at the end of each fiscal year (& #8220;Decision of the President of #8217; European Patent Office, dated February 19, 2019, amending the regulations applicable to current accounts (RCC)“, OJ 2019, A20).

(modified on 12/22/2019)

4) Account debit

The current account is debited on the basis of & #8217; a debit order signed by the account holder (on order or automatic) (5.1 RCC, & #8220;Regulation on current accounts” , OJ 5/2017, additional publication, p11) in a format allowing electronic processing (XML), using one of the following means:

  • online :
    • on forms EPO 1001E (request for grant), 1200E (entry in phase) 2300E (opposition) or 1038E (documents filed later);
    • via the online filing software of #8217; EPO or PCT-SAFE, CMS and ePCT using 1T38217; using the PCT fee calculation and payment function
    • via the payment of taxes online as part of the online services.

Debit orders presented in other ways, for example on paper, by fax, using the online form filing service, or using a different format, for example as a file attachment PDF, are not valid and will therefore not be executed (5.1 RCC, & #8220;Regulation on current accounts” , OJ 5/2017, additional publication, p11)

If the amount indicated is ever incorrect (or any other information is manifestly incorrect), but the intention of the party is clear, the EPO will correct the amount by itself and charge the correct amount (T152 / 82, T170 / 83, AX 4.2.3 Guidelines and AX 7.1.2 Guidelines).

5) Debit of the implicit account?

The fact of indicating on a mail that the holder pays by debit from the current account but without attaching the appropriate form does not allow the EPO to consider the payment as valid (T198 / 16).

6) Inadequate flow and supply

If the account supply is insufficient to pay all the taxes due for a request, the current account is not debited (7.1 RCC, & #8220;Regulation on current accounts” , OJ 5/2017, additional publication, p11)

The account holder is then informed of this fact (by fax or email) (7.1 RCC, & #8220;Regulation on current accounts” , OJ 5/2017, additional publication, p11)

The holder must then replenish his account.

7) For filing with #8217; a service of 1 Contracting State

An order received by a competent national service of a Contracting State at the time of filing is deemed to be received in due time by the EPO if the current account was sufficiently funded by the expiration of the time (5.6 RCC, & #8220;Regulation on current accounts” , OJ 5/2017, additional publication, p11).

It is possible to use the paper form 1020 only if the deposit is made in paper format with this State (5.6 RCC, & #8220;Regulation on current accounts” , OJ 5/2017, additional publication, p11).

8) Revocation of a debit order

Revocation of a debit order is only possible if it is received by the EPO before receipt of the order itself (6.2 RCC, & #8220;Regulation on current accounts” , OJ 5/2017, additional publication, p11).

9) Automatic withdrawal

It is possible to set up an automatic debit from the current account (7 RCC, & #8220;Regulation on current accounts” , OJ 5/2017, additional publication, p11).

In this case, all these taxes are deducted automatically, as the procedure takes place, and are deemed to have been received on time. It is not possible to limit the direct debit order to certain types of taxes (1.5 RPA, & #8220;Relative Regulations to the automatic debiting procedure” , OJ 5/2017, additional publication, p22).

The following taxes are notably excluded from the possibility of direct debit (4 RPA, & #8220;Relative Regulations to the automatic debiting procedure” , OJ 5/2017, additional publication, p22). :

  • all taxes due by a party who is not the applicant or the holder (e.g. opponent),
  • the processing fee (A135 (3) EPC and A140 EPC),
  • the fee for fixing costs (R88 (3) EPC),
  • the conservation of evidence tax (R123 (3) EPC),
  • the fee for issuing a technical opinion (#8217)A25 CBE).

If the account supply is insufficient to pay all the fees due for a request, the current account is not debited (7.1 RPA, & #8220;Relative Regulations to the automatic debiting procedure” , OJ 5/2017, additional publication, p22). and the account holder is then notified of this fact (by fax or email).

10) Closing

Any account with a balance of 0 and for which no transaction has occurred during the previous four years is closed automatically by the & #8217; EPO (& #8220;Decision of the President of #8217; European Patent Office, dated February 19, 2019, amending the regulations applicable to current accounts (RCC)“, OJ 2019, A20). If the balance is positive, the account is instead declared & #8220; inactive & #8221 ;.

(modified on 12/22/2019)

In addition, it is also possible to close a current account yourself by sending a written and signed request to the EPO (this can be by email, (2.2 RCC, & #8220;Regulation on current accounts” , OJ 5/2017, additional publication, p11).

The balance can then be refunded by bank transfer (2.4 RCC, & #8220;Regulation on current accounts” , OJ 5/2017, additional publication, p11).

2.4.4. Payment by credit card

Since December 1, 2017, it is again possible to pay fees via a credit card (& #8220; Decision of the President of & #8217; European Patent Office, dated August 22, 2017, relating to the payment of fees by credit card & #8221 ;, OY 2017, A72). when using the online service (this is not EPOLINE).

The payment date is the date the transaction is approved
(& #8220; Decision of the President of & #8217; European Patent Office, dated August 22, 2017, relating to the payment of fees by credit card & #8221 ;, OY 2017, A72).

Only VISA and MASTERCARD are accepted (& #8220; Press release from & #8217; European Patent Office, dated August 22, 2017, relating to payment of fees by credit card & #8221 ;, OY 2017, A73).

It is also possible to pay by credit card the taxes relating to & #8217; EQE (& #8220;Decision of the President of the European Patent Office, dated April 16, 2002, relating to the rights to register for the European Qualification Examination for Professional Representatives before the European Patent Office, and to the appeal fee against decisions of the examination board or of the examination secretariat” , OJ 2002, 309).

2.4.5. checks

Are forbidden :

  • payments by checks since September 1, 2007 (& #8220;Important Notice” , OG 2007, 489);
  • payments by checks since April 1, 2008 (& #8220;Deletion of payment by check” , OG 2007, 626).

2.4.6. Payment by deduction of #8217; a tax to be reimbursed by the EPO

It is normally not possible to pay by & #8220; compensation & #8221; , because nothing in the EPC allows it (AX 2 Guidelines).

However, it is possible to request it in a written request: c & #8217; is the date of this request which is deemed to be that of payment (AX 10.5 Guidelines).

Section 2.5. Calculation of the amount of the tax

The reference date to be taken into account to calculate the amount of a tax is the day of payment (AX Guidelines 5.1.2) and not the date of tax due.

So, if your due date falls before the EPO rates change, but you pay afterwards, you will have to pay the new amount.

Section 2.6. Insufficient payment

2.6.1. Principle

Normally, the consequence of an insufficient payment is the fact that it is not considered valid and the taxes paid are refunded (A8 (1) RRT).

2.6.2. Minimal missing part

1) Principle

If a small part of a tax is not paid, the payment can still be considered valid (A8 (1) RRT), provided that the payment is completed, by invitation, by the missing part of the tax (this is the practice of & #8217; EPO).

If several taxes are payable, you have to look at the total amount (J11 / 85).

2) In the case of a debit order

In the case of a debit order, the missing minimal part is automatically withdrawn (T152 / 82, “Communiqué relating to debits made to a current account” , OG 1984, 321)

3) Is minimal

10% are often considered a small part (J11 / 85).

It was even considered that the non-payment of 20 % of the opposition tax (1 expecting to benefit from the reduction linked to languages A14 (4) EPC) was minimal (T290 / 90).

4) N & #8217; is not minimal

25 % of the total amount due is not minimal (J11 / 85).

(modified on 12/22/2019)

Section 2.7. Other errors during payment

(modified on 12/22/2019)

When paying the fees, the cardholder may make an error (e.g. forgetting the check in the & #8217; envelope, forgetting the & #8217; indicating the current account number, etc.)

(modified on 12/22/2019)

According to the decision G2 / 97, the EPO is required to report to a party any loss of rights when the latter can expect in good faith to receive such a notice. This supposes :

(modified on 12/22/2019)

  • that the EPO can easily identify the irregularity
  • and that the user is able to remedy it within the time limit.

(modified on 12/22/2019)

Thus, according to the principle of good faith, the parties can expect the EPO to inform them when a problem exists in connection with their payment (T703 / 19).

(modified on 12/22/2019)

Section 2.8. Fee schedule applicable to payment

The applicable tax schedule is the one in effect at the time the tax is due and paid (AX Guidelines 5.1.2): c & #8217; it is therefore the payment date that matters.

As indicated above, if the tax n & #8217; is not payable, this is normally refunded automatically (except for the designation fee as mentioned above, which can be paid upon deposit but considered valid only from the due date, on condition that the amount paid corresponds to the amount due on the due date, AX 5.2.2 Guidelines).

Section 2.9. Modification of the scale and incorrect amount

Most often, during an increase in the fee schedule, there is a transitional period of 6 months during which a tax is considered validly paid if (ex. & #8220;Decision of the Board of Directors of October 27, 2011 amending the regulation relating to taxes” , OY 2011, 616, art 4 (3)):

  • the amount paid is that of the old scale;
  • the remainder is paid in 2 months following an invitation from EPO #8217;

Chapter 3. Date on which a payment is deemed to have been made

Section 3.1. Principle

A payment is deemed to have been made when the amount of the tax is actually credited to & #8217; a bank account of the & #8217; Office (A7 (1) RRT).

Section 3.2. In the case of a debit order from a current account

The date of payment is the date of receipt of the order, if the current account is sufficiently funded (5.4 RCC, & #8220;Regulation on current accounts” , OJ 5/2017, additional publication, p11).

In this case, the payment date is deemed to be the date on which the replenishment was made (5.2 RCC, & #8220;Regulation on current accounts” , OJ 5/2017, additional publication, p11 modified by & #8220;Decision of the President of #8217; European Patent Office, dated February 19, 2019, amending the regulations applicable to current accounts (RCC)“, OJ 2019, A20).

(modified on 12/22/2019)

Section 3.3. Case of #8217; direct debit from #8217; current account

Payment is deemed to have been made, provided that the current account is sufficiently funded (6 RPA, & #8220;Relative Regulations to the automatic debiting procedure” , OJ 5/2017, additional publication, p22):

  • the last day of the applicable time limit (if the fee were to be paid within a period);
  • for the examination fee :
    • on the date of receipt of the declaration of renunciation,
      • if the applicant has waived their right to receive the invitation to confirm the examination (according to R70 (2) EPC);
    • on the date of receipt of the request,
      • if the applicant has requested an accelerated PACE examination before the expiration of the 6 months from the mention of the publication of the TPP (as R70 (1) EPC) or the deadline for 31 months from the priority (according to the R159 (1) EPC)
  • for the tdelivery axis and of publication :
    • on the date of receipt of the translation of the claims
      • if the translation of the claims is produced before the expiration of the period of 4 months from the notification referred to in R71 (3) EPC.
  • for the claim fees :
    • the last day of the period referred to in R162 (2) EPC :
      • if these are due when entering phase 1;
    • on the date of receipt of the translation:
      • if they are due on delivery (R71 (4) EPC) and when the translation of the claims concerned is produced before the expiration of the 4 months from the notification (the R71 EPC having changed since this version of the RPA, it is possible that this is no longer applicable);
  • for the publication fee for #8217; a new booklet :
    • on the date of receipt of the translation;
      • if the translation of the amended claims is produced before the date of expiration of the period of 3 months from the notification referred to in R82 (2) EPC (limitation or revocation) or R95 (3) EPC (opposition).
  • for the annual fees :
    • on the due date:
    • the last day of the deadline 4 months from the deposit referred to in R51 (3) EPC ;
      • for newly filed divisional applications;
    • the last day of the period referred to in R51 (4) (a) EPC or R51 (4) (b) EPC, according to the applicable deadline;
      • for European applications for which the applicant is reinstated in his rights;
    • the last day of the period referred to in R51 (5) (a) EPC or R51 (5) (b) EPC, according to the applicable deadline;
      • for European applications for which the Enlarged Board of Appeal reopens the proceedings before the Board of Appeal (A112bis (5) EPC):
  • for the fees for further processing :
    • the last day of the deadline for requesting the continuation of the procedure:
      • if the failure to pay a tax constituted the act not performed;
      • if several acts have not been performed by the expiry of the period concerned, of which at least one was the non-payment of a tax and the one was the non-execution of a procedural act, and under reservation of the completion of the procedural act;
    • on the date of execution of the unfulfilled act:
      • if the non-execution of a procedural act (other than the payment of a tax) constituted the unperformed act,
  • for a tax the non-payment of which constitutes the act not accomplished :
    • on the same date as for the corresponding fee (see above) for further processing;
  • for the fees for restitutio in integrum, limitation or revocation, appeal and petition for review :
    • on the date of receipt of the request for restitutio in integrum, limitation or revocation, the appeal or the petition for review;
  • for taxes d & #8217; administration and fees :

If the cardholder replenishes his account, payment is deemed to have been made on this date (8 RPA, & #8220;Regulations on the automatic debiting procedure” , OJ 5/2017, additional publication, p22).

Section 3.4. Deemed payment made on time (10-day rule)

3.4.1. Delay

However, it may happen that a transfer made before a deadline is not considered to be validly made on time due to interbank transfer deadlines.

3.4.2. Reputed paid on time

To avoid any concern, a payment will be deemed to have been made on time if the following conditions are met (A7 (3) RRT):

  • if the transfer has been made or has been ordered from a bank, in a Contracting State;
  • if this was done at the latest 10 days before the expiration date;
  • if the person making the payment can prove the two previous conditions.

3.4.3. Possible surcharge

In addition, a surcharge of 10% of the sums due (not exceeding 150 €) (A7 (3) RRT) will have to be settled if:

  • if the transfer has been made or has been ordered from a bank, in a Contracting State;
  • if this was done less (strictly) of 10 days before the expiration date.

3.4.4. Procedure

A decision must be required in accordance with the R112 (1) EPC and the evidence must then be provided (AX 6.2.6 Directives).

The EPO then invites, and if necessary, the applicant to pay the surcharge within a specified time (A7 (4) RRT) (time limit which must respect a minimum of 2 monthsbecause the R132 EPC s & #8217; applies, D7 / 07).

TheA121 EPC is applicable to the time limit (for the applicant) and the #8217;A122 EPC is applicable to the time limit (for the holder).

3.4.5. Payment of a tax with surcharge

If a fee may be paid with surcharge in a further period, the 10-day rule applies to the normal time period, but also additional time with surcharge (AX 6.2.4 Guidelines).

The 10-day rule s & #8217; applies also the time limit for continuing the proceedings (AX 6.2.4 Guidelines).

3.4.6. Case of #8217; supply of a current account

The 10-day rule applies, by analogy, to the payments made for the supply of a current account. These payments shall be deemed to be effective not later than 10 days after the completion of the necessary acts (AX 6.2.2 Directives).

Chapter 4. Reimbursement of taxes

Section 4.1. Taxes paid without cause

For a tax to be validly paid, you must (AX 10.1.1 Guidelines):

  • that the tax relates to a pending proceeding;
  • the tax was paid on the day of the due date or later (unless exception).

If request n & #8217; is not pending (e.g. deemed withdrawn), the fee is paid without cause and the amount paid is then refunded (AX 10.1.1 Guidelines).

If the taxes are paid before the due date and if the cause of payment disappears on or before that date, the tax is paid without cause and the amount paid is refunded (AX 10.1.1 Guidelines): this can happen for example if the annuities are paid in advance (R51 (1) EPC) and that the request is withdrawn before the deadline.

Section 4.2. Taxes not validly paid

If a tax n & #8217; is not validly paid, it is refunded (AX 10.1.2 Guidelines).

This is the case, in particular (AX 10.1.2 Guidelines):

  • if a tax has been paid, but it should have been paid with surcharge;
  • if a tax is paid incompletely;
  • if a fee is paid during the period to require the continuation of the proceedings without the procedural fee being paid;
  • if the tax of re is paid outside the deadline 2 months to request the restitutio in integrum (T46 / 07).

Section 4.3. Recipients of the refund

The reimbursement of taxes is made for the benefit of the party concerned or its representative authorized to receive payments (AX 10.4 Guidelinesand not, as one might have thought, to the person / third party who made the payment.

Direct reimbursement to the person who made the payment n & #8217; is possible only in the following cases (AX 10.4 Guidelines):

  • the payment related to public inspection;
  • the object of payment was so unclear that it was impossible to link it to pending proceedings.

Section 4.4. Repayment Terms

If the recipient has a current account, reimbursement will be made on it (AX 10.3 Guidelines).

Upon written request, the refund may also be made by a transfer of payment (to another request) (AX 10.5 Guidelines).

In other cases, the refund is made by check (AX 10.3 Guidelines).

Section 4.5. Reimbursement of insignificant amounts

If the amount to be refunded is insignificant (ie less than 10 €, “Decision of the President of & #8217; European Patent Office dated March 27, 2018, concerning the & #8217; application of & #8217; article 12 of the fees regulations” , OJ 2018, A37) and if the party does not expressly request a refund, there is no refund (A12 RRT).

Section 4.6. Special case of the refund of the search fee

4.6.1. Complete refund

The search fee is refunded in full if:

  • the request is not transmitted (R37 (2) EPC) by a Contracting State to the EPO within a period of 14 months from the priority;
  • the application is withdrawn, rejected or deemed withdrawn before the EPO has started toA9 (1) RRT);
  • the application is not granted a filing date (Guidelines A-II 4.1.4).

The fact that research has begun must be based on clear and transparent elements ("Notice from the European Patent Office dated 29 January 2013 concerning the adaptation of the search and examination fee refund system” , OG 2013, 153): the launch date of the search algorithm of the prior art by the examiner in charge of the search is thus entered in the file for this to be verifiable.

4.6.2. Full or partial refund

1) European or complementary research

If research is facilitated by previous research, part of the search fee may be refunded ("Decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 21 December 2018 concerning the refund of the search fee under Article 9 (2) of the Rules relating to Fees” , OJ 2019, A4).

This refund applies to European searches or additional searches ("Decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 21 December 2018 concerning the refund of the search fee under Article 9 (2) of the Rules relating to Fees” , OJ 2019, A4) :

  • and if the previous research had been done with written opinion,
    • and if this previous research is a European research for an EP application filed on or after July 1, 2005, the refund is:
      • 100% in case of complete reuse or
      • 25% in case of partial reuse.
    • and if this previous research is a PCT search for a PCT application filed on or after January 1, 2004, the refund is:
      • 84% in case of complete reuse or
      • 21% in case of partial reuse.
    • and if this previous research is a additional PCT search, the refund is:
      • 84% in case of complete reuse or
      • 21% in case of partial reuse.
    • and if this previous research is a national search for BE, CY, FR, GB, GR, IT, LT, LU, LV, MC, MT, NL, SM, TR, the refund is:
      • 84% in case of complete reuse or
      • 21% in case of partial reuse.
  • and if the previous research had been done without written opinion,
    • and if this previous research is a European research for an EP application filed before July 1, 2005, the refund is:
      • 70% in case of complete reuse or
      • 17.5% in case of partial reuse.
    • and if this previous research is a PCT search filed before January 1, 2004, the refund is:
      • 70% in case of complete reuse or
      • 17.5% in case of partial reuse.
    • and if this previous research is a international type search, the refund is:
      • 70% in case of complete reuse or
      • 17.5% in case of partial reuse.
    • and if this previous research is a standard search (the EPO has not done this type of search since 1 September 2007), the reimbursement is:
      • 70% in case of complete reuse or
      • 17.5% in case of partial reuse.
    • and if this previous research is a research national account for BE, CY, FR, GR, LU, NL, TR, the refund is:
      • 70% in case of complete reuse or
      • 17.5% in case of partial reuse.
2) International Searches (EPO / ISA)

If search is facilitated by prior search by the EPO for the priority request (including a "standard" search requested in a private capacity), part of the search fee may be refunded (R16.3 PCT, “New Agreement between the European Patent Organization and the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization concerning the functions of the European Patent Office as an International Searching and Administrative Authority responsible for the International Preliminary Examination under the Patent Cooperation Treaty “, OY 2017, A115, Annex C, Part II, point 3 and A9 RRT together "Decision of the President of the European Patent Office, dated December 21, 2018, relating to the reimbursement of the international search fee by the EPO acting as the international search administration” , OJ 2019, A5):

  • and if the previous research had been done with written opinion,
    • and if this previous research is a European research, the refund is:
      • 100% in case of complete reuse or
      • 25% in case of partial reuse.
    • and if this previous research is a PCT search, the refund is:
      • 100% in case of complete reuse or
      • 25% in case of partial reuse.
    • and if this previous research is a additional PCT search, the refund is:
      • 100% in case of complete reuse or
      • 25% in case of partial reuse.
    • and if this previous research is a research national for BE, CY, FR, GB, GR, IT, LT, LU, LV, MC, MT, NL, SM, TR, the refund is:
      • 100% in case of complete reuse or
      • 25% in case of partial reuse.
  • and if the previous research had been done without written opinion,
    • and if this previous research is a international type search, the refund is:
      • 70% in case of complete reuse or
      • 17.5% in case of partial reuse.
3) Full / partial reuse criteria

Normally, a research report will be reused completely if the claims presentedNotice from the European Patent Office dated 9 January 2009 concerning criteria for reimbursement of search fees” , OCT 2009, 99point 2.1):

  • are identical to the claims previously sought;
  • or represent a limitation of the claims previously sought:
    • deletion of claims,
    • deletion of alternative features of a claim,
    • adding a limitation related to claim merger.

Normally, a research report will be partially reused if the claims presentedNotice from the European Patent Office dated 9 January 2009 concerning criteria for reimbursement of search fees” , OCT 2009, 99point 2.2):

  • are broader than the claims previously sought (and constitute a generalization);
  • or represent a limitation of the claims previously sought with a feature that was not disclosed in the earlier application (but which relates to the same invention).

No refund is due, ie the search report will not be not recycledwhen the claimed invention is different ("Notice from the European Patent Office dated 9 January 2009 concerning criteria for reimbursement of search fees” , OCT 2009, 99point 2.3).

4) Refund procedure

The reimbursement is made after the communication of the search report, the amount of this refund having been previously communicated to the applicant ("Notice from the European Patent Office dated 9 January 2009 concerning criteria for reimbursement of search fees” , OCT 2009, 99point 3).

Section 4.7. Special case of reimbursement of the examination fee

4.7.1. Complete refund

The examination fee is reimbursed in full if:

  • the request is not transmitted (R37 (2) EPC) by a Contracting State to the EPO within a period of 14 months from the priority;
  • if the substantive examination has not started (A11 a) RRT, l & #8217; EPO informs of the planned date of the start of this examination (& #8220;Notice from the European Patent Office dated 30 June 2016 concerning the refund of the examination fee (Article 11 of the Rules relating to Fees“, JO2016, A49);
  • the application is not granted a filing date (Guidelines A-II 4.1.4) and that the request for examination has been submitted to the filing.

The fact that the examination has begun must be based on clear and transparent elements ("Notice from the European Patent Office dated 29 January 2013 concerning the adaptation of the search and examination fee refund system” , OG 2013, 153): the launch date of the document search algorithm A54 (3) EPC Examiner in charge of the examination is included in the file for this to be verifiable.

As a reminder, if the request for examination is validly formed within the time limits, the exam division becomes competent:

  • as soon as the TPP is sent to the applicant,
    • if the request has been made previously and
    • if the applicant has waived his right of confirmation (R10 (4) EPC);
  • failing this, upon receipt of the applicant's confirmation,
    • if the request was made before the transmission of the TPP (R10 (3) EPC);
  • failing that, upon submission of the request for examination (R10 (2) EPC).

4.7.2. Partial refund

If the examination on the merits has begun (A11 b) RRT), the examination fee:

  • is reimbursed at 50% if the withdrawal occurs:
    • before the expiry of the time limit for replying to the first invitation A94 (3) EPC ;
    • or in the case of a notification R71 (3) EPC before the day before the date of this notification.
  • is not reimbursed in other cases.

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