EPO : The END of “the ten-day rule”

Starting from November 1, 2023, the “ten-day rule” of the European Patent Office will be abolished.

This rule stated that documents issued by the EPO were considered served ten days after the date they bear. This allowed for the time required for postal delivery to be taken into account. As the majority of documents are now delivered electronically, the relevance of this rule has diminished, and the EPO has decided to abolish it in order to modernize its working practices.

Documents issued by the EPO will henceforth be considered served on the date they bear, and the deadlines associated with these documents will be shorter, starting from that receipt date. However, the European Patent Office has added a safeguard rule that applies in case service occurs more than 7 days after the date indicated on the document. This new rule will adjust the associated deadline by extending the due date by the difference between the actual date of receipt and the date shown on the document, minus seven days.

In the event of a dispute by the recipient regarding the actual date of receipt of correspondence from the EPO, especially in cases of delays exceeding 7 days, the burden of proving this date will always rest with the EPO.

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