EPO to Abolish the 10-day Rule

IP News

The EPO has announced that it has updated its mailing period rules. The update will end the current mailing period arrangements with effect from 1 November 2023.

Those familiar with the EPO will be aware that under the current rules, official communications are deemed to be delivered to the recipient 10 days from the date printed on the communication, to allow for them to reach the addressee by mail. This means that deadlines for responding to official communications notified by the EPO are calculated from the end of the 10-day period. Following the update, official communications will be deemed to be delivered on the actual date of the communication, and so deadlines will start from that date. This is part of the EPO’s “digital transformation” and reflects the fact that EPO communications are now usually sent electronically.

Safeguards will be available in the event of a delay between the mailing and receipt of a communication from the EPO. In cases where there is a dispute concerning the delivery of a document, the burden of proof will lie with the EPO to prove that the communication was delivered and the date of its delivery.

Whilst this change will take some time to get used to and will effectively shorten the period for responding to many EPO communications, it will simplify the calculation of deadlines and remove uncertainty when reporting deadlines to attorneys outside of Europe.

We will of course keep you full informed as this change comes into effect.

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