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Guidelines for Examination

Forwarding of applications 

The central industrial property office of a Contracting State is obliged to forward to the EPO, in the shortest time compatible with national law concerning the secrecy of inventions, applications filed (see A-II, 3.2) with that office or with other competent authorities in that State (for debit order enclosures, see A-II, 1.6).

A time limit of six weeks after filing is specified for the onward transmission to the EPO of applications the subject-matter of which is obviously not liable to secrecy, this time limit being extended to four months or, where priority has been claimed, to fourteen months after the date of priority, for applications which require further examination as to their liability to secrecy. It should be noted, however, that an application received outside the specified time limits, either six weeks or four months, must be processed provided the application is received in Munich, The Hague or Berlin before the end of the fourteenth month after filing or, where appropriate, after the date of priority. Applications received outside this last mentioned time limit are deemed to be withdrawn. Re-establishment of rights and further processing in respect of the period under Rule 37(2) are not possible, since the loss of rights does not result from a failure of the applicant to observe a time limit (see J 3/80), but a request for conversion under Art. 135(1)(a) may be filed (see A-IV, 6).

If the time limit referred to in Rule 37(2) expires on a day on which there is an interruption or subsequent dislocation in the delivery or transmission of mail within the meaning of Rule 134(2), the time limit will extend to the first day following the end of the period of interruption or dislocation.