It was recently brought to our notice that under Article 11 of the new European Patent Office (EPO) Rules for examination which come into force from April 1, 2010, the examination fee will be refunded:
(i) in full if the European patent application is withdrawn, refused or deemed to be withdrawn before the examining divisions have assumed responsibility; or
(ii) at a rate of 75% if the European patent application is withdrawn, refused or deemed to be withdrawn after the examining divisions have assumed responsibility but before substantive examination has begun.
This is an interesting development in light of Rule 7(4) of Indian Patent Rules, 2003 which states that “Fees once paid in respect of any proceeding shall not ordinarily be refunded irrespective of whether the proceeding has taken place or not”.
Should we too have a provision for refund of fees?