31 October 2023

The European Patent Office (EPO) ends the “10-day rule”

The European Patent Office (EPO) ended the “10-day rule” on 1 November 2023.  This rule originally existed to allow for any postage delays and the deemed notification of a document was considered to be the tenth day following that dated on the communication. As of 1 November 2023, notification will be deemed to occur on the date of the document to more accurately reflect the #digital world in which we now operate. As such, an Office Action dated 1 November 2023, and setting a four month deadline for response, will now have a deadline of 1 March, instead of what would previously have been ten days later.

Provisions under the EPC to account for situations where notifications are received “exceptionally late” (which the EPO defines as more than 7 days from the date of the document), or not received at all, are retained. In particular, if the EPO cannot show that a document reached the addressee within seven days of its date, a time limit will be extended by the number of days of delay beyond seven. For example, if a document is received 13 days after the date of the document, the time limit will be extended by 6 days. An Official Journal Notice from the EPO concerning the change in practice can be found here.

If you have any questions regarding this change in practice, please contact your usual Venner Shipley representative.