19 October 2023
As previously reported, the EPO’s ‘10-day rule’ will cease to exist from 1 November 2023.
From that date, EPO communications will be deemed to be delivered on the same date which they show, rather than 10 days later (as occurs at present). Thus, the date of a communication will be considered the date of notification and be decisive for determining the expiry of an applicable deadline.
Please note this only applies to EPO communications dated on or after 1 November 2023.
As a safeguard against late delivery of communications, the EPO has introduced measures to extend deadlines in cases where delivery of a document is disputed, and it can be established that a document was delivered to the addressee more than seven days after the date it bears. The burden will be on the EPO to establish when the document was actually delivered. In addition, if the EPO is unable to prove that a document has been delivered, the document in question will be reissued with a new date, and that new date will be used to determine the expiry of an applicable deadline.
Those receiving reports of EPO communications from Mathys & Squire from 1 November onwards may notice our correspondence emphasises that the ‘10-day rule’ no longer applies.
The ‘10-day rule’ originated as a ‘buffer’ to take into account delays in receiving documents by post. The abolition of this rule is part of a wider strategy to support digital transformation in the patent grant procedure at the EPO.
If you have any questions about these changes, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with your Mathys & Squire contact, or reach out to our team using our contact form here.
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