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Guide for applicants, Part 2: PCT procedure before the EPO (Euro-PCT Guide)

When should the demand for international preliminary examination be filed with the EPO?
Pursuant to Rule 54bis PCT, the demand may be validly submitted at any time prior to expiry of whichever of the following periods expires later:
R. 54bis PCT
WIPO PCT Guide 10.010 
three months from the date of transmittal to the applicant of the ISR and WO-ISA by the ISA, or 
22 months from the (earliest) priority date. 
This time limit guarantees that the applicant has at least three months from the date of mailing of the ISR to decide on the basis of the result of the international search laid down in the ISR and the WO-ISA whether he wants to file a demand with amendments and/or arguments. 
If the demand is submitted after expiry of this time limit, the demand is considered as if it had not been submitted.
The applicant should be aware that the possibilities to withdraw a demand and obtain a refund of the fee paid are limited (see point 353).