The past few years have seen changes in the EPO patent granting procedures, in the attempt to speed up the granting process. The most recent developments include the introduction of a non-extendable period of between 2 and 4 months for paying grant fees and filing the French and German claims to cases with a Rule 51(4) notice on or after April 1, 2005. Also, the “further processing” fee has increased from 75 to 200 euros as of April 2005, with the purpose of discouraging its use. Documents, including applications, search reports, patent specifications, will no longer be published in paper form as of April 1, 2005 and can be freely downloaded from the web, as of April 1, 2005. The printed certificate for grant of a European patent will be accompanied by a copy of the patent specification only by special request, at no charge. As of July 1, 2005, all European patent applications will be issued an Extended European Search Report (EESR).
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