EPO Online Filing – Problem filing applications without fee payment
February 13, 2020
Some members have reported problems filing European patent applications and oppositions via Online Filing (eOLF), particularly where no fees are to be paid with the filing.
Following an update on 8 January 2020, selecting a payment method is mandatory in eOLF form EP1001 and EP1200. Failure to select a payment method is a blocking validation error and it becomes impossible to proceed with the filing. (A similar issue arises if a fee is selected in forms 1038 and OPPO, but no payment method is indicated.)
Until this is changed, a couple of workarounds are available for filing applications without payment:
• In eOLF simply select “bank transfer” as payment method, regardless whether you intend eventually to pay by that method. This will remove the validation error so that filing may proceed. You may similarly select “credit card” instead of “bank transfer”. The method indicated when filing does not restrict your eventual choice of method, when you do pay.
• Filing via CMS does not have the blocking behaviour.
The EPO advises that the behaviour in Online Filing forms 1001, 1200 and OPPO will be changed to allow users to file without selecting a particular payment method (expected release date April 2020). A level 3 validation message will still inform that no fee payment method is selected, but without blocking the filing.
Form 1038 will not be updated: the blocking warning will remain, if any fee is selected for payment without indicating a payment method.
epi Online Communications Committee