The application is published as soon as possible after the expiry of a period of eighteen months from the date of filing or, where priority is claimed, from the earliest priority date. The application may, however, be published before that date if requested by the applicant and provided the filing and search fees have been validly paid. If the decision granting the patent becomes effective before expiry of the period referred to above, the application and the patent specification will both be published early.
If the applicant abandons his priority date, then the publication is deferred provided that the notification of the abandonment is received by the EPO before the termination of the technical preparations for publication. These preparations are considered terminated at the end of the day five weeks before the end of the eighteenth month from the date of priority, if priority is claimed, or from the date of filing, if the priority is abandoned or if no priority is claimed (see the Decision of the President of the EPO dated 12 July 2007, Special edition No. 3, OJ EPO 2007, D.1). The applicant is informed when they are actually completed, and also of the publication number and intended publication date. Where the notification of abandonment of the priority is received after that time, publication, if it has not already taken place, takes place as if the priority date applied, although a notice as to the abandonment of the priority will appear in the European Patent Bulletin (see F‑VI, 3.5). The same procedure is followed when the priority right is lost under Art. 90(5) (see A‑III, 6.10).