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In order to continue the procedure, the applicant must pay an examination fee and a designation fee for each designated state within a 6 months' term after the publication of the search report, barring which the application will be deemed withdrawn. Otherwise, the application is transferred to the Examining Division, generally in Munich or in The Hague.
The Examining Division examines the application by comparing it notably to the documents cited by the search examiner in the search report. If the application displays irregularities, e.g. lack of clarity or if the claims lack novelty or inventive step over the prior art, the Examining Division sends a written notification to the applicant or his representative and sets a deadline for remedying the defects or for traversing the examiner's objections. The deadline is usually 4 months and can be extended by a further 2 months upon simple written request.
The Examining Division is not entitled to reject the patent application without granting the applicant the opportunity to take position on the objections raised. If the applicant's reply gives rise to new objections, a new office action must be issued. The procedure can thus theoretically imply a countless number of exchanges between the Examining Division and the applicant. In practice, however, the Examining Division will usually strive to force the applicant to respond fully to the office actions and to restrict the number of necessary notifications.

Effects of the European patent. Designations.
grant procedure for European patents
search report
publication of the European patent application
approving the text intended for grant
translations of the patent
annual fees after grant

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