Referral to the Enlarged Board of Appeal: Appeal deemed not to be filed or inadmissible in case of delayed fee payment?

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23 July 2018

In accordance with Article 112(1)(b) EPC the President of the European Patent Office has referred a point of law concerning the interpretation of Article 108 EPC to the Enlarged Board of Appeal (case G 1/18).

The question referred is:

Lorsque la formation d'un recours et/ou la taxe de paiement ont lieu après l'expiration du délai de deux mois prévu à l'article 108 CBE, le recours est-il irrecevable ou réputé non formé, et la taxe de recours doit-elle être remboursée ?

(Provisional translation of the question into English: If notice of appeal is filed and/or the appeal fee is paid after expiry of the two month time limit under Article 108 EPC, is the appeal inadmissible or is it deemed not to have been filed, and must the appeal fee be reimbursed?)

The answer of the Enlarged Board will be of significance for the users of the European patent system as well as for the EPO.

The question was already referred to the Enlarged Board of Appeal by Technical Boards of Appeal in two cases: G1/14 and G2/14, however the Board has not answered it as in G2/14 the patent application was deemed to be withdrawn, and in G1/14 the referral  was found inadmissible.

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