7.3.1 Delay in procedure

The boards have frequently cited a general interest in bringing proceedings to a close within a reasonable period; see e.g. T 594/00 and T 343/01. In T 1913/06, for instance, a request for remittal was refused on the basis that procedural efficiency was imperative in view of the public interest in a streamlined and efficient procedure.

Some boards have emphasised that remittal of a case results in a substantial delay in the procedure, which keeps the public in uncertainty about the fate of the patent for several more years. It also involves additional costs for all the parties and the EPO (see e. g. T 966/95, T 577/97, T 111/98, T 98/00, T 186/01). It is also generally accepted by the boards that a delay in the first-instance proceedings can be considered a "special reason" for not remitting a case within the meaning of Art. 11 RPBA 2007 (T 1548/11, T 1423/15).

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