Terms & Conditions

  1. Scope of Terms of Business
  2. Who We Are
  3. Benefits and limitations of this service
  4. Our Conduct
  5. Our Client
  6. Cost and Payment Terms
  7. Conflict of Interest
  8. Files
  9. Timely Instructions
  10. General exclusions and limitations of liability
  11. Accuracy of Information
  12. Refunds
  13. Foreign Attorneys and other Service Providers
  14. Data Protection Act
  15. Electronic Communications
  16. Client care & complaints
  17. Variation of Terms
  18. Governing law and jurisdiction; severance
  19. Queries


These terms define important aspects of our business relationship with our client.

Scope of Terms of Business

The following terms of business relate to the services provided by us to our client following completion of the online instruction form on our EP-FILER® website. The EP-FILER® website collects data from our client to form the basis of an instruction to effect entry into the European regional phase of an International (PCT) Patent Application. Our services will be provided in relation to carrying out that instruction and in relation to the resulting European patent application, any related divisional European patent applications, any national patent applications derived from such European application(s)), and any Patents that are granted in respect of such patent applications. The Terms and Conditions set out below are in addition to any terms already agreed between us and you. In the event of any differences between previously agreed terms and the terms and conditions set out herein, the decision as to which terms prevail will be made by us at our sole discretion. Please note that the Terms below include exclusions and limitations of our liability to you, including an overall liability cap and exclusion of all liability in the event that we do not receive and acknowledge receipt of your instructions when issued via the EP-FILER® website.

Who we are

The service provided from the EP-FILER® web-site is provided by Abel + Imray (A+I). A+I is a leading firm of European patent attorneys and trademark attorneys based in the UK, having offices in the UK (London, Cardiff, and Bath) the Netherlands (Delft). Further information concerning A+I can be found on the Abel + Imray website.

Benefits and limitations of this service

We believe that you should pay for high quality service at a rate appropriate for the nature of the service being provided. Sophisticated and astute advice on intellectual property matters cannot, we suggest, be provided on a low-cost or budget basis. Completing procedural matters, such as effecting entry into the European regional phase, can however be achieved efficiently when provided with complete and timely electronic instructions, with consequent cost savings for both client and service-provider.

The online service offered at EP-FILER® is a low-cost web-based service for effecting entry into the European regional phase of an International (PCT) patent application. The low fees payable for this service are made possible as a result of the high degree of automation provided by the interactive online instruction form. Low cost at this stage does not however imply budget quality service during subsequent prosecution of the European patent application.

The European Patent Attorneys of A+I will be named as representatives in respect of the European patent application(s) derived from the European regional phase entry instructed via European Regional Phase. Our clients will therefore benefit from a low-cost, highly automated service when effecting entry into the European regional phase whilst retaining the high quality services of a leading firm of European Patent Attorneys in subsequent substantive proceedings.

The service provided via European Regional Phase is best suited to cases in English – where the subject International (PCT) Patent Application has been published in English (and in the case of PCT applications having undergone examination under Chapter II of the PCT, the International Preliminary Report on Patentability, including any annexes, are in English). Otherwise, translations into English of such documents must be provided by you when submitting the online instruction form. You will be responsible for the accuracy and quality of any translations so provided. Please also note that the service is not available in cases where the following apply:

  • There have been unrecorded changes in the details of the Applicant(s) and we are not provided with sufficient details to record such changes on effecting entry into the European regional phase.
  • The subject matter of the patent application is such that there is a need to refer to separate sequence listings or biological material deposits when effecting entry to the European regional phase.
  • The earliest claimed priority date is more than 33 months ago.

Our conduct

We conduct our business in accordance with the code of conduct for Patent Attorneys and Trade Mark Attorneys as made available by the Intellectual Property Regulation Board (“IPReg” - the UK’s independent regulatory body for attorneys set up in 2010 by the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys and the Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys). For example, we recognize that the nature of our business is such that we often receive confidential information: such information will be treated carefully and in accordance with IPReg’s codes of conduct

Our client

Our client in relation to this matter is the person or company indicated as such during the completion of the online instruction form. This will be the company, institution or other legal entity for whom we will subsequently receive instructions (or in the case where there is no such legal entity, the private individual from whom we receive instructions). Our client is responsible for all payments to us.

Costs and Payment Terms

Existing clients of A+I (who are currently offered credit facilities with A+I) will be billed by means of an invoice under the same terms as they currently enjoy.

All actions and attention provided by us are chargeable. These include telephone calls, reminders and reporting on communications (for example an official letter from the European Patent Office subsequent to effecting entry into the European Regional Phase) that we may receive as our client’s agent.

An automatic estimate of costs is generated on completion of the online instruction form on the basis of the information inputted by the user. This estimate is non-binding, and will be reviewed for its accuracy by an attorney of A+I, who will subsequently confirm or revise the estimate by email. We anticipate revising the automatic cost estimate provided only in the event of a system error. For the avoidance of doubt, that estimate covers the cost of entering the European regional phase only; further costs will be incurred in prosecuting the European patent application once it has entered the European regional phase.

We shall provide estimates of future costs if asked to do so. The estimates will be given in good faith based on our knowledge at that time of the work that will be required. Such estimates will not be binding. Typical hourly charging rates are in the range of £60 to £450 per hour and depend on the qualification and experience of the attorney conducting the work and on the type of work being conducted.

Conflicts of interest

From time to time, we may be asked to act for a client in a matter that conflicts with the interests of another client. Conflicts can sometimes arise later because, for example, our clients acquire new companies or diversify into new areas of business.

Where possible, we will discuss apparent conflicts with both clients and attempt to agree an arrangement satisfactory for both. However, if a conflict arises, we may decline to act further for one of the clients in question (usually the client with whom we have had a shorter relationship), at least in relation to the matter giving rise to the conflict. When we advise a client that we can no longer act for them, confidentiality obligations may prevent us from identifying the other client, and sometimes the matter involved.

In certain circumstances, a potential conflict may not become apparent until after entry into the European regional phase has been effected. For example, when effecting entry into the European regional phase we will not, unless instructed to do so, spend professional time in reviewing or amending the patent specification and may not therefore review in detail the subject matter of the patent application before effecting entry into the European regional phase. Also, there may be insufficient time, between receiving instructions and the deadline for effecting entry into the European regional phase, to detect such a conflict.


You agree that our files (electronic or otherwise) relating to matters which we handle for you are and remain our property at all times. Files may be destroyed without notice after they cease to be current, in accordance with our File Retention Policy (a copy of which is available on request). You should tell us immediately if you require the return of papers or other material supplied to us.

We will agree to any reasonable request to transfer data/papers from our files to others, but we reserve the right to make a charge for the work involved in the transfer, at our standard rates. We reserve the right to retain all data, papers and other materials in our files until our charges and any other amounts payable to us have been paid in full. We retain copyright in documents prepared by us. Your use is restricted to the purpose for which the document was prepared.

Timely instructions

You should note deadlines carefully, as failure to meet them may result in irrevocable loss of rights. We rely on you to give us timely, complete and accurate information and instructions. We shall notify you of time limits, but not necessarily send you subsequent reminders of them. If you do not instruct us, after you have been notified of a time limit, we are not obliged to incur costs on your behalf nor to take any other action to meet the deadline, and your rights may be lost in consequence.

Our client should ensure that both (a) an automated receipt of instructions is received by them by email within 24 hours of submitting instructions via the EP-FILER® website and (b) a personal email is received by them from an A+I attorney within 2 working days of the automated receipt, confirming safe receipt of the instructions. If such a personal email is not received by the client from an A+I attorney within 2 working days of the automated receipt, it can not be assumed that A+I have safely received the instructions. In such a case A+I will not be liable for any loss of rights suffered by the client or a related party as a result of inaction on the part of A+I.

If we receive instructions very close to a deadline, we may not be able to implement them in time. In the event of late instructions or late payments to us, we may levy urgency charges. Also, extra official fees may need to be paid. If we have received clear and full instructions within 2 working days of the 31-month deadline (and confirmed receipt of the same by means of a personal email), we will ensure that the entry into the European regional phase is timely effected.

Our normal office hours are 9:00 am to 5:30 pm (UK time), Monday to Friday, excluding UK public holidays. We may not be available to attend to communications received or attempted outside our normal office hours.

General exclusions and limitations of liability

We understand that you will rely on our advice. We will not act for you as a client unless we are confident that we are able to give you sound advice. The firm has professional indemnity insurance (PI insurance), to protect you in the unlikely event that something goes wrong.

Services provided by us subsequent to the completion by our client of an online instruction on the EP-FILER® website will be on a limited liability basis, as set out below, insofar as our services relate to or concern effecting entry into the European regional phase in respect of the application(s) identified in your online instruction or relate to or concern any European patent application or European patent resulting from such a European regional phase entry. The provisions set out below continue notwithstanding termination of our relationship with you.

Our total liability to you in respect of our services for any loss, liability or damage howsoever caused, whether direct, indirect or consequential, whether in contract (by way of indemnity or otherwise), tort (including negligence), misrepresentation, restitution or otherwise (in each case whether caused by negligence or not) and whether related to any act, mission, services provided to you or not provided to you or failure to act or delay in acting, is limited to £ 1 million for each claim or series of claims, including contractual and statutory interest and costs.

If you do not wish to agree to the exclusions and limitations to liability set out in this section and elsewhere in these Terms of Business then we are willing to discuss alternative arrangements with you (which may involve carrying out your instructions at rates higher than our standard rates).

You will not make a claim personally against any of our employees. Our liability will be limited in proportion to our contribution to the overall fault, taking into account any contributory negligence by you, your other advisers, and any and all 3rd parties responsible or liable to you. We are not liable to you in respect of our services for any failure, delay or consequences thereof due to any event beyond our reasonable control, including without limitation, acts of God, war, terrorism, and the malicious acts of 3rd parties. We do not accept responsibility for non-receipt or late receipt by you of communications sent by us in good time.

Nothing in these Terms affects liability for personal injury or death resulting from our negligence, any loss caused by our fraud, fraudulent misrepresentation, reckless disregard of our professional obligations, or any situation where the law prohibits us from excluding or limiting our liability to you.

Accuracy of information

Our client will ensure that all information provided to us in the online instruction form is correct and complete. There will be no liability on our part for inaction or action taken in respect of inaccurate, incomplete or out of date information. There will for example be no liability on our part for any inaccuracies, omissions or other issues with any translations of documents provided by you. There will be no liability on our part for inaction or action taken in respect of data taken from the database of the European Patent Office.


Unless otherwise provided for in these Terms of Business, we will not refund any fees paid by our client to us, unless such refunds are due as a result of official fees being refunded to us by from the EPO. In particular, if the European patent application is rejected, withdrawn or otherwise does not proceed to grant of a European patent, we will not refund any fees paid by our client for our services in relation to such a patent application. In the event that fees are refunded from the EPO in relation to our client’s patent application we will pass such refunds on to our client as soon as they are received. There may be an administrative charge in relation to refunding such fees (details of such charges being available on request – but typically being in the range of £100 to £250, depending on the circumstances)..

Foreign attorneys and other service providers

It is often necessary to instruct patent or trade mark attorneys in other countries, in order to carry out our client’s instructions. Similarly, we may instruct solicitors, barristers, searchers, translators, draughtsmen or other outside experts in order to carry out our client’s instructions. Where we instruct such an outside expert in good faith, we are not liable for any failure on their part.

Data Protection / GDPR

By instructing us you consent to our use of relevant personal data. To enable us to carry out our obligations to you as appropriate in the course of our professional services and for other related purposes including updating and enhancing client records, credit checking, analysis for management purposes, crime prevention, and legal and regulatory compliance, we may obtain, use, process and disclose personal data about you, and we may transfer such data outside the UK and/or the European Economic Area. A+I is committed to complying with all relevant data- protection legislation.

Electronic communications

We will communicate with you by email in relation to the entry into the European regional phase in respect of the application identified in your online instruction. You accept that we are not responsible for the risks arising from use of e-mail, including possible corruption in the information communicated, interception by other parties, or non-delivery. We filter incoming e-mail in an attempt to control the problem of unwanted junk email (“spam”). Identification of spam is carried out by a third-party, and, whilst we have chosen the third party as a reputable supplier of spam-filtering services, we do not accept any liability arising from the third-party erroneously labelling as spam an e-mail sent by you. You should not assume that we have received an e-mail that you have sent unless we have acknowledged receipt. We shall observe reasonable precautions to secure our IT systems; however, we cannot guarantee their security. We shall carry out regular virus checks, but we advise you to carry out your own virus checks on any electronic communication from us. To the extent that we have fulfilled our obligation above, we do not accept responsibility for any virus or other malware that may affect your system or data.

Client care & complaints

We aim to provide a service of a consistently high standard, but from time to time difficulties and misunderstandings may arise. If problems do arise, please discuss the matter with your usual contact in the firm. If you continue to have concerns after those discussions, please ask for details of our Complaints Procedure.

Variation of terms

All professional work carried out by us will be in accordance with these terms unless otherwise agreed in writing by a partner of A+I.

Governing law and jurisdiction severance

These Terms and any matters arising from our relationship, including our provision of services, are governed by the laws of England & Wales. The courts of England & Wales have exclusive jurisdiction to settle any dispute, including claims for set-off and counterclaims. You agree irrevocably to submit to the jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales and irrevocably waive any objection to any action or proceedings being brought in those courts and any claim that any such action or proceeding should have been brought elsewhere. You agree that any final judgement or order of said courts shall be conclusive, binding, and may be enforced in the courts of any other jurisdiction. If any court or competent authority finds that any provision of these Terms of Business (or part of any provision) is invalid, illegal or unenforceable, that provision or part-provision shall, to the extent required, be deemed to be deleted, and the validity and enforceability of the other provisions of these Terms of Business shall not be affected. If any invalid, unenforceable or illegal provision of these Terms of Business would be valid, enforceable and legal if some part of it were deleted, the provision shall apply with the minimum modification necessary to make it legal, valid and enforceable.


Any queries concerning the attached terms can be addressed to europct@abelimray.com.