Date: 5 July 2016
The EPO have made some changes in the availability and amount of examination fee refunds.
From 1st July, 2016, there will be a 100% refund of the examination fee available if the application is withdrawn, refused or deemed withdrawn before substantive examination has begun (an increase from the previous 75% refund).
A 50% refund will be available if the application is withdrawn after substantive examination has begun but before the expiry of the time limit for replying to the first invitation of the Examining Division under Art. 94(3) EPC or if no such invitation has been issued by the Examining Division, before the date of the Communication under Rule 71(3) EPC. This is a completely new practice.
In addition, the EPO will endeavour to issue a notification indicating when substantive examination will begin, to give the applicant prior warning and time to consider the option of withdrawal to get a full refund of the examination fee.
The changes appear to be mainly intended to save work for the EPO, by incentivising applicants to withdraw applications no longer of interest. On balance, the changes may benefit applicants as well.
Tuesday, July 5, 2016