EPO to abolish the “10 day rule”
The EPO has decided that the so called “10 day rule” that gives applicants and/or representatives extra time to respond to many official communications is to be dropped as from 1 November 2023.
The EPO "10 day rule" is provided by various rules which set out that formal “notifications” from the EPO are deemed to occur 10 days after the date on which the notification was sent. For example, if the EPO set a 4 month term for responding, then the deadline is calculated as 10 days from the date of the notification plus the 4 month term.
Many EP attorneys would report the deadline without the “10 days” being added, which led to additional time being available for EP patent attorneys to prepare a response, especially helpful when receiving late instructions from a client.
The reason behind the rule was that post takes time to reach the recipient and, especially if a short 1 or 2 month term was set, the postal delay could severely impact the timeframe for a response. However, as the majority of EPO communications are now sent electronically and so do not suffer from the postal delays, the EPO are abolishing the additional term.
This will take effect for all relevant EPO communications that are issued on or after 1 November 2023. Thus, there will a transition period where some response deadlines will benefit from the additional time (communications dated 31 October 2023 or earlier), but some will not (communications dated 31 October 2023 or earlier).