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1 July 2016
From today, 1 July 2016, applicants will be able to enjoy a 100% refund on their examination fee for any application they withdraw, or which is refused or deemed withdrawn, before substantive examination has begun. Previously such refunds were limited to just 75% of the fee.
In this context and as an additional service, the European Patent Office will inform applicants at least two months in advance of the date on which it intends to start substantive examination. Initially these letters will be sent only in respect of certain applications according to operational factors, with letters for more applications being issued later.
Any application which is withdrawn, refused or deemed to be withdrawn before substantive examination has begun will benefit from the full fee refund, whether or not the applicant has received the information letter.
There is no need to react to the information letter; substantive examination will begin on or after the indicated date. On the other hand an applicant intending to withdraw the application can be confident that with an effective withdrawal before the communicated date they will benefit from the full fee refund, since the Office commits not to start examination before that date.