- You will get the whole of the examination fee back if examination has not started. This deal was improved on 1 July 2016 and is part of the EPO drive for greater efficiency as described here. This is set out in Art 11 of the Fees Rules if you don't believe me.
- You will get the whole search fee back if there is no supplementary search. Art 9 of the Fees Rules
- The prospect of the Unitary Patent (UP) is fading after the #Brexit vote by the United Kingdom is receding fast. The continental Europeans would like the UK to ratify the Agreement fast so that it can become effective. However to do so before negotiations are complete would potentially put UK businesses who hold patents at a disadvantage when they were being enforced. Its possible that as part of the negotiations some new Treaty might be arranged that allowed the UK and possibly other significant non EU countries that are part of the EPO system to participate. Do read the opinion from Counsel which was sought by IP Federation, the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys and the Intellectual Property Lawyers Association rather than the spin that certain parties have put on it. Without the Unitary Patent the less rich patent holder tends to proceed on grant only with a few London Agreement territories. A rapidly granted UP held out tantalisingly the prospect of maintaining patent protection in 25 territories for a reasonable period until the renewal fees climb massively after year 10 to encourage lapse of any patents that are unexploited by that age.
Of course if you move the application along you will need to be able to respond to the examination report and pay the grant fees. It is worth giving applicants an idea of what that might cost having looked at the state of the claims in the application as it stands.
As a further incentive to tactical withdrawal sometimes the EPO is going to give you advance notice that the examination is about to start. A sensible move because it must frustrate examiners that cases are abandoned when they have done work, which could have been avoided.