Any communications issued by the European Patent Office (EPO) from 1 November 2023 onwards will no longer benefit from the '10-day rule'. This change results in a welcome simplification to the calculation of deadlines before the EPO, but will result in a shortening of some deadlines for responding to certain communications (i.e., examination reports).
Previously, applicants had an additional 10 days to respond to certain notifications from the EPO as a result of potential delays in the postal service. The 10-day rule stated that communications were deemed to be delivered to the recipient on the tenth day after the date of the communication. Certain deadlines are calculated from notification of a communication. According to the 10-day rule, this would mean that any deadlines calculated from such communications would be calculated from the date they had been deemed to have been delivered, as opposed to the date of the communication itself.
Applicants and practitioners alike often relied on this period as an unofficial extension for responding to communications. However, this will no longer be possible under the new rules.
For any communications dated 1 November 2023 onwards, the date the communication is deemed to be delivered will be the date of the communication itself. Importantly, this change will only affect those communications issued after 1 November 2023. For communications issued before this date, deadlines should still be calculated taking into account the 10-day rule.
If you would like any further information on how this change will affect you, please get in touch.