The European Patent Office Abolishes the “10-day Rule”

If you are not in the patent profession (and specifically not familiar with the subtleties of the European system), then you would be forgiven for not being aware of the EPO’s 10-day rule.

In short, when the 10-day rule applies, a document received from the EPO is deemed to have been “delivered” 10 days after the date on the letter. This can help to accommodate postal delays, but feels slightly archaic in the days of electronic communication.

The Administrative Council of the EPO have recently announced that they will be abandoning the 10 day rule, and documents will be deemed to be notified on the date listed on the letter. This change will come into effect on 1 November 2023.

The abolition of the 10-day rule seems like a sensible move by the EPO. It means that it will become trivial to assess when a letter is considered as having been received (being the date on the letter), which can be an important point for determining deadlines.

That said, care should be taken to ensure that deadlines are not missed due to a mistaken assumption that there are an extra 10 days within which to reply to a communication beyond a deadline.



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