The search and examination of European patent applications occur in separate stages, meaning an applicant receives the search report before he has to decide whether he wishes the application to be examined.
The Examination Division assumes responsibility subsequent to the applicant’s request for examination and payment of the examination fee. When the first examination report is drawn up is subject to variations depending on the workload of the European examiners.
If the applicant loses interest in the application he may invoke Art. 11(b) of the Rules relating to Fees, which states that 75 percent of the examination fee can be refunded if the “application is withdrawn, refused or deemed to be withdrawn after the Examining Division have assumed responsibility, but before substantive examination has begun”.
This article encourages applicants to withdraw applications so that the Examining Division can focus its limited resources on ‘relevant’ applications. Decision J 25/10 from the Legal Board of Appeal concerns a European application based on an international patent application.
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Examination fees, patent applications