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Case Law of the Boards of Appeal

 
 
2.3. Time limits concerning the PCT proceedings

Art. 48(2)(a) PCT states that any contracting state shall, as far as that state is concerned, excuse, for reasons admitted under its national law, any delay in meeting any time limit. The application of provisions concerning restitutio in integrum is covered by Art. 48(2)(a) PCT, when the necessary conditions are fulfilled. Consequently, a Euro­PCT applicant who has not carried out a certain procedural act within the time limit prescribed in the PCT can take advantage of the relevant provisions of the EPC 1973 concerning re­establishment of rights in all cases where the direct European applicant too may invoke them if he fails to observe the relevant time limit (see G 3/91, OJ 1993, 8).

In J 6/79 the Legal Board held that restitutio in integrum was not excluded, so far as the time limit for presentation of the request for examination is concerned, in the case of an international application transmitted to the EPO.

In W 4/87 (OJ 1988, 425) the board decided that an application for restitutio in integrum could be submitted in cases where the statement of grounds supporting the protest under R. 40.2(c) PCT was submitted late, since Art. 122 EPC 1973 applied in conjunction with Art. 48(2) PCT.

The provisions of Art. 122 EPC are applicable to the time limit set by R. 13bis.4 PCT (T 227/97, OJ 1999, 495). For re-establishment in respect of the time limit, set under former R. 40.3 PCT, for the protest against the invitation to pay an additional search fee, see W 3/93 (OJ 1994, 931).