The role of the EPO in the European phase
Once an international application has entered the national phase before the EPO, the international application is said to be in the European phase.
The time limit for entering the European phase is 31 months from the date of filing or, if priority has been claimed, from the earliest priority date (see point 443444).
An up-to-date overview of the applicable time limit for entry into the national phase in each PCT contracting state - including the EPC contracting states where the national route is preferred - is available on the WIPO website.[ 11 ].
If an international application enters the European phase (see points 443444 ff), the EPO will act:
as designated Office if the international application was only processed under PCT Chapter I proceedings (international search and publication of the application);
as elected Office if the international application at the request of the applicant was also processed under PCT Chapter II PCT proceedings (international preliminary examination) (see points 291292 ff and points 407408 ff).

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