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

 
 
When must the European phase be initiated before the EPO as designated or elected Office?
420
If, after considering the ISR and WO-ISA (see points 238 ff) and, where applicable, the result of the international preliminary examination as laid down in the IPER (see points 405 ff) and/or a supplementary international search (see points 273 ff), an applicant decides to pursue his international application further before the EPO as designated/elected Office, he must comply with the requirements for entry into the European phase within 31 months from the filing date or, if priority has been claimed, from the earliest priority date.
421
The time limit for complying with the requirements for entry into the European phase thus extends by one month beyond the standard time limit of 30 months provided for in Articles 22(1) and 39(1)(a) PCT and applies irrespective of whether or not a demand for international preliminary examination was filed (see points 329-330).
422
If the 31-month time limit expires on a day on which one of the filing offices of the EPO is not open for receipt of documents, the period is extended to the first day thereafter on which all filing offices are open for receipt of documents and on which mail is delivered.  
423
If the applicant does not comply with the requirements for entry into the European phase within the 31-month time limit, the Euro-PCT application is, as a rule, deemed to be withdrawn (see point 451).