Since 1.4.2009 a single designation fee has been payable in respect of all the Contracting States of the EPC. R. 39 EPC in force from that date provides that the designation fee shall be paid within six months of the date on which the European Patent Bulletin mentions the publication of the European search report. Where the designation fee is not paid in due time or the designations of all the Contracting States are withdrawn, the European patent application shall be deemed to be withdrawn. Under the EPC 1973 the same time limit was to be found in Art. 79(2) EPC.
Under Art. 121 EPC, where a designation is deemed withdrawn for any contracting state in respect of which the designation fee has not been paid (R. 39(2) EPC), the applicant may now apply for further processing, unless he has waived his rights to receive a R. 112(1) EPC communication and to request further processing by crossing the appropriate box in the Request for grant form.
R. 39 EPC as amended from 1.4.2009 applies to European patent applications filed on or after that date, as well as international applications entering the regional phase on or after that date.