INFORMATION FROM THE EPO
Information for PCT applicants concerning the interface between the international phase and the regional phase before the EPO as elected Office under the PCT
1. PCT applicants are referred to the information concerning time limits and procedural steps before the EPO as designated and elected Office published in OJ EPO 1991, 328, 329 (especially Section B), and to Legal Advice No. 18/92 (OJ EPO 1992, 58) regarding the procedural steps a "non-resident" Euro-PCT applicant may himself take before the EPO as designated or elected Office.
2. Where an applicant requests international preliminary examination under PCT Chapter II towards the end of the 19th month as from the priority date of the international application, with the EPO thus becoming the elected Office, it can take several weeks before the International Bureau receives the demand and can notify the EPO of its election under Article 31(7) and Rule 61.2 PCT.
3. If in the meantime the 21-month period under Rule 104b(1) EPC has also expired, the EPO - regarding itself as designated Office - issues the communications pursuant to Rule 85a and, where applicable, Rule 69 EPC (EPO Forms 1217 and 1205), requesting the applicant to pay the national fee within the period of grace or noting a loss of rights, because generally the necessary steps for entry into the regional phase before the EPO as designated Office will not have been taken.
4. If the applicant has neither a residence nor his principal place of business in an EPC Contracting State and has not yet appointed an authorised professional representative, the EPO - for the reasons explained in Legal Advice No. 18/92 - addresses the communications referred to in point 3 above to the applicant himself (and not his representative for the international phase).
5. Once the EPO is informed of its election, if it has already issued the communications referred to in point 3 above it tells the applicant to ignore them, because the period for taking the steps for entry into the regional phase is increased under Rule 104b EPC to 31 months (EPO Form 1215).
6. Applicants who receive one of the communications referred to in point 3 above even though they have filed a demand for international preliminary examination before the expiry of 19 months from the priority date are invited to inform the EPO accordingly so that it can check why it has not yet been notified of its election.