A revised version of this publication entered into force.
5.4.001You need to file the request for examination within six months of the date on which the European Patent Bulletin mentions the publication of the European search report (see point 5.3.004). The request, which you must submit in writing, is contained in the request for grant form (see point 4.1.013), but it is not deemed to be filed until you have paid the examination fee. Once filed, it cannot be withdrawn.
5.4.002You also have the option of paying the examination fee when you file the application. No disadvantages can accrue from this, as the examination fee is refunded in full if the application is withdrawn, refused or deemed to be withdrawn before substantive examination has begun. The examination fee is refunded at a rate of 50% if the application is withdrawn after substantive examination has begun but before expiry of the time limit for replying to the first communication from the examining division (see point 4.3.020).
5.4.003If you validly file the request for examination before receiving the European search report, pursuant to Rule 70(2) the Receiving Section invites you to indicate, within six months of the date when the European Patent Bulletin mentions the publication of the search report, whether you wish to proceed further with the application. If you do not reply to this invitation in due time, the application is deemed to be withdrawn.
In this case, too, further processing is available (see point 5.10.007).
5.4.004To speed up proceedings, you can also, for example in the request for grant form, simply waive your right to the invitation to confirm the request for examination. In that case, when you receive the search report you are deemed to have indicated that you wish to proceed further with the application, and the examining division then assumes responsibility for the procedure (see point 5.2.009).
With a request for accelerated examination under the programme for accelerated prosecution of European patent applications ("PACE") you can speed up the proceedings at the examination stage.
GL E‑VIII, 4.2
5.4.005You will be invited to comment on the extended European search report and/or to correct any deficiencies noted in the opinion accompanying it, and to amend the description, claims and drawings as appropriate, within the same six-month time limit as applies to filing or confirming the request for examination. If you fail to comply with the invitation in due time, the application will be deemed withdrawn (for further processing, see point 5.10.007).
However, if no objections were raised in the opinion accompanying the European search report, no invitation will be issued. Instead, you will be informed about the possibility of filing comments or making amendments within the same period (see point 5.4.018).