Dr. Jörg Prechtel

EPO: Improved refund system for the examination fee after withdrawal of an application


Obviously as incentive for a withdrawal of applications with low chances of success and/or minor commercial value by the applicants and thus reducing the heavy workload of the EPO, new regulations for the refund of the examination fee (at present €1620) have been introduced recently:


  • Effective from July 1, 2016 the refund of the examination fee has been increased from 50% to 100% in cases in which the application is withdrawn, rejected or deemed to be withdrawn before start of the substantive examination. To give the applicants enough time for considerations, the  EPO informs the applicant at least 2 months beforehand of the date on which the EPO intends to start the substantive examination.


  • Effective from November 1, 2016 for European patent applications for which substantive examination starts on or after this date the EPO refunds 50% of the examination fee if the application is withdrawn before the expiry of the term for replying to the 1st office action under Art. 94(3) EPC. Generally this term is a four month term giving the applicant enough time for his considerations with taking into account the actual examiner’s view of the case.

The German patent and trademark office does not provide a refund system for the examination fee this fee being comparable low (at present €350).

Link: Official Journal EPO 2016, A49

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