TMEP 202.03(a): Fee Payment Refused or Charged Back By Financial Institution

This is the October 2015 Edition of the TMEP

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202.03(a)    Fee Payment Refused or Charged Back By Financial Institution

Where a check submitted as payment of an application filing fee is returned to the USPTO unpaid, or an EFT or credit card payment is refused or charged back by a financial institution, the application is treated as though the fee had never been paid.

If the original application was accompanied by an authorization to charge fee deficiencies to a deposit account (37 C.F.R. §2.208), then the application filing fee and the processing fee required by 37 C.F.R. §2.6(b)(12) (see TMEP §§202.03(a)(i) and 405.06) are charged to the deposit account, and the original filing date remains unchanged.

However, if the original application was not accompanied by an authorization to charge deficient fees to a deposit account that has sufficient funds to cover the fee, and the applicant has not paid the filing fee for at least one class of goods or services, the filing date is void and will be cancelled. In re Paulsen, 35 USPQ2d 1638 (Comm’r Pats. 1995).

In some cases, the applicant will have resubmitted the fee before the USPTO discovers that the payment was refused. In these cases, the USPTO will change the filing date to the date when the fee for a single class of goods or services was resubmitted.

In a multiple-class application, if the fee for at least a single class has been paid, but the payment of the filing fee for additional class(es) is refused, the filing date of the application is not affected. The applicant must: (1) resubmit the fee for the additional class(es), or delete the additional class(es); and (2) pay the processing fee required by 37 C.F.R. §2.6(b)(12). The applicant must pay the processing fee even if the applicant chooses to delete the additional class(es).

See TMEP §§202.03(a)(i) and 405.06 regarding payments refused by financial institutions, and TMEP §204.03 regarding the examining attorney’s handling of applications that are erroneously granted a filing date.