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The automatic designation of all of the contracting states party to the EPC at the time of filing of a European patent application is effected by the filing of the application, whereas the designation fees payable for an application filed before 1 April 2009 may be paid later.

Applicants have time – until expiry of the period for paying the designation fees (Rule 39(1) and Rules 17(3) and 36(4)) – to decide which contracting states they actually want their patent to cover. This they do by paying the designation fees for those states, which may include an additional sum required to validate a request for further processing.

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