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Case Law of the Boards of Appeal

 
 
5. Language privilege - fee reduction

According to Art. 14(4) EPC, natural or legal persons having their residence or principal place of business within the territory of a contracting state having a language other than English, French or German as an official language, and nationals of that state who are resident abroad, may file documents which have to be submitted within a given time limit in an official language of that state (these languages are sometimes referred to as "admissible non-EPO languages"). A translation in an official EPO language must also be filed (see R. 6(2) EPC). A special language provision for the filing of the European patent application itself (cf. former Art. 14(2) EPC 1973) is not required because Art. 14(2) EPC allows applications to be filed in any language.

Furthermore a person referred to in Art. 14(4) EPC is entitled to a fee reduction in accordance with R. 6(3) EPC (R. 6(3) EPC 1973) when filing a European patent application, a request for examination, an opposition, an appeal, or, in addition, since the introduction of the procedures under Art. 105a and 112a EPC, a request for limitation or revocation, or a petition for review.

In G 6/91 (OJ 1992, 491) the Enlarged Board of Appeal ruled that the persons concerned were only entitled to the fee reduction under R. 6(3) EPC 1973 if they filed the essential item of the first act in filing, examination, opposition or appeal proceedings in an official language of the state concerned other than English, French or German, and supplied the necessary translation no earlier than simultaneously with the original.

This principle has since been applied in a number of decisions, for example in T 367/90 of 3.6.1992, T 385/90, T 297/92, and T 2133/10 (notice of appeal in Italian and its English translation filed in a single fax transmission). Further decisions are given below.