Effective November 1, 2023, The European Patent Office abolishes the “10-day rule”
At its 172nd session on 13 October 2022, the Administrative Council decided on some amendments to the Implementing Regulations to the EPC, thereby supporting the ongoing digitization process of the patent grant procedure at the EPO. The legal changes come into force in two packages.
The first package concerns the formal requirements for documents and an amendment to Rule 65 EPC and will come into force on 1 February 2023.
The second package concerns a new fiction for delivery and deadline calculation and will come into force on 1 November 2023.
As part of the second package, the so-called 10-day rule will be abolished. Documents are deemed to have been delivered on the date they are dated. Appropriate safeguards are provided in the event that a document is not received or is received late (more than 7 days after the date). If there are doubts about the receipt of a document, the Office is still obliged to prove receipt and the date of receipt. This amendment affects Rules 126(2), 127(2) and 131(2) EPC. Shifting the focus of the delivery system from the paper world to the digital world, where electronic documents are delivered on the same day, is critical to the Office's digital transformation. Further details will be announced in a notice in the Official Gazette well in advance of the amended rules coming into force.
Further information can be found on the EPO's website: http://www.epo.org