Farewell: EPO’s ‘Ten-Day Rule’ To Become History as of 1 November 2023
The European Patent Office (EPO) has made the decisive move to abolish the widely discussed ‘ten-day rule,’ following a decision of 6 March 2023
For those not familiar with the ‘ten-day rule,’ it’s been a long-standing practice where communications sent by the EPO were deemed to be delivered ten days after the date printed on the document. This often provided a 10-day grace period for meeting certain deadlines based on that communication’s date.
Starting from 1 November 2023, documents sent by the EPO will be deemed delivered on the very date they bear. The ‘ten-day rule’ will cease to exist, and there will no longer be a 10-day cushion for response deadlines.
Crucially, the date inscribed on the document now assumes paramount importance. For documents bearing a date before 1 November 2023, the previous regulations—including the ‘ten-day rule’—shall remain in force. Conversely, for documents dated on or after 1 November 2023, the newly established provisions shall take precedence, with the ‘ten-day rule’ relegated to history.
The EPO has thoughtfully put safeguards in place. If a document isn’t correctly delivered, the Patent Office will reissue it with a new date, and response periods will be calculated accordingly. Plus, there is an additional safeguard that could grant a deadline extension if a document arrives more than seven days later than its date. However, this is expected to be a rarity, especially with the increasing use of electronic document delivery.
As we embrace these changes, let’s stay informed, adapt, and continue to excel within the ever-evolving landscape of intellectual property.