GL E VIII 2 Further processing

If the European patent application is to be refused or is refused or deemed to be withdrawn following failure to reply within a time limit vis-à-vis the EPO, the application is allowed to proceed if the applicant makes a request for further processing of the application within two months of the communication concerning either the failure to observe a time limit or a loss of rights. Further processing must be requested by payment of the prescribed fee within two months of the communication concerning either the failure to observe a time limit or a loss of rights. The omitted act must be completed within the period for making the request. The request is not deemed to have been filed until the respective this fee for further processing has been paid. If the fee for further processing has been paid in due time but the omitted act has not been completed within the period for making the request, the request is inadmissible.[Art. 121(1); (2); Rule 135(1); (3); Art. 2(1), item 12, RFees; ]
If several acts have the same legal basis, they form a unitary procedural act and are subject to a unitary time limit (see J 26/95). Further processing in respect of such a time limit is subject to the payment of a single fee for further processing. The amount of the single fee depends on the number and character of the omitted acts forming the unitary procedural act.
The following examples serve to illustrate this:
Requesting examination under Art. 94(1) in conjunction with Rule 70(1) requires filing a written request for examination and paying the examination fee. As both actions have the same legal basis, they form a unitary procedural act subject to a unitary time limit. If both actions were omitted, a flat fee and 50% of the examination fee are due (Art. 2(1), item 12, first and third indents, RFees). If only the examination fee was not paid in due time, the fee for further processing amounts to 50% of the examination fee (Art. 2(1), item 12, first indent, RFees). If only the written request for examination was omitted, the fee for further processing amounts to the flat fee (Art. 2(1), item 12, third indent, RFees).
The filing fee and the additional fee due if the application comprises more than 35 pages must be paid within the time limit set by Rule 38(1) and (2). As the additional fee is part of the filing fee, the payment of these two fees forms a unitary procedural act subject to a unitary time limit. Hence, one fee for further processing is due. If both fees were not paid in due time, the single fee for further processing comprises 50% of the filing fee and 50% of the additional fee (see Art. 2(1), item 12, first indent, RFees). If only one fee was not paid in due time, the single fee for further processing amounts to 50% of that omitted fee (see Art. 2(1), item 12, first indent, RFees).
An exception to the above principle concerns Rule 71(3):
Rule 71(3) requires paying the fee for grant and publishing and filing the translations of the claims within a four-month period. As these actions have the same legal basis, they form a unitary procedural act subject to a unitary time limit. By way of exception to the principle that the single fee for further processing is computed on the basis of the number of omitted acts, Art. 2(1), item 12, second indent, RFees stipulates that only one flat fee for further processing is due.
Actions not forming a unitary procedural act are subject to time limits expiring independently of one another, each resulting in the application being deemed withdrawn. If such time limits expire on the same date, the missing of each independent time limit results in the application being deemed withdrawn (see J 26/95). This applies regardless of whether the applicant is informed of the non-performance of procedural acts in one communication or in several communications. In such cases, a fee for further processing is due in respect of each unobserved time limit. For an example, see E-VIII, 3.1.3.
A request for further processing may also be filed between expiry of the unobserved time limit and notification of the communication concerning either the failure to observe a time limit or a loss of rights.
The department competent to decide on the omitted act also decides on the request for further processing.
A mere request for oral proceedings is not to be seen as completion of the omitted act and therefore cannot lead to further processing being granted (B‑XI, 8).
As a general rule, further processing is the legal remedy for failure to observe a time limit during proceedings before grant, even where the consequence is a partial loss of rights (e.g. loss of priority right). However, the possibility of requesting further processing is ruled out for the periods referred to in Art. 121(4) and Rules 6(1), 16(1)(a), 31(2), 36(2), 40(3), 51(2) to (5), 52(2) and (3), 55, 56, 58, 59, 62a, 63, 64, 112(2) and 164(1) and (2).[Rule 135(2); ]

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EPC Articles

EPC Implementing Rules

EPC Rules relating to Fees

EPO Guidelines - A Formalities Examination

EPO Guidelines - B Search

EPO Guidelines - C Procedureal Aspects of Substantive Examination

EPO Guidelines - E General Procedural Matters

EPO Guidelines - H Amendments and Corrections

EPO Guide for Applicants, part II Int. - E Euro-PCT procedure before the EPO as designated or elected Office