General considerations 

The general considerations relating to time limits are set out in E‑VIII. The time limit for response to a communication from the examiner should in general be between two and four months in accordance with Rule 132. The period to be allowed will be determined by the examiner taking all the factors relevant to the particular application into account. These include the language normally used by the applicants or their representative; the number and nature of the objections raised; the length and technical complexity of the application; the proximity of the EPO to the applicants or, if they have one, their representative; and the distance separating applicants and representatives.

If the only outstanding objection is the need to amend the description, the examiner may invite the applicant to amend the description by issuing a communication under Art. 94(3) with a two-month time limit to reply. Alternatively, the examiner may consult the applicant informally, e.g. by telephone, explain the objection and set a one-month time limit documented in the minutes of the consultation referring to this objection (unless a shorter limit is agreed during the consultation).

This time limit can be extended if the applicant so requests before it expires (see E‑VIII, 1.6). Failure to respond to a communication according to Art. 94(3) and Rule 71(1) and (2) in time results in the application being deemed to be withdrawn. This loss of rights is subject to further processing (see E‑VIII, 2).

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