Value from Knowledge

Important information concerning end of the “Ten-Day Rule"

With effect from 1 November 2023 the European Patent Office (EPO) has decided to abolish the 10-Day Rule.

This change is occasioned by EPO shifting from sending physical documents via postal service to primarily communicating via electronic means (EPO mailbox service), where the document can be accessed on the day it is sent. The change applies irrespective of how the document is sent by the EPO, whether electronically or by postal service.

It is important to be aware of this change to avoid missing any deadlines.

Until 1 November 2023 many deadlines at the EPO are calculated from receipt of the relevant notification. Instead of tracking actual receipt, all notifications received from the EPO are deemed delivered ten days after the mailing date printed on the notification. Thus, the deadline corresponding to that document will be calculated from the day of deemed delivery.

However, from 1 November 2023, regulations are amended, meaning there will be no 10-day grace period on the response deadlines. A notification will be deemed received on the date marked on the document. Thus, the date from which the time limit corresponding to that document runs, will be calculated from the date marked on the document. Further, even if the document is visible in the EPO mailbox before the date marked on the document, the document will be deemed received on the date marked on the document itself.

It is also the date on the document which determines whether the new provisions apply:
– If the document is dated before 1 November 2023, the current provisions including the 10-day rule applies.
– If the document is dated on or after 1 November 2023, the new provisions applies and thus, the 10-day rule does not apply.

The current 10-day rule covers decisions, summonses, notices and communications, which EPO is obliged to notify ex officio in accordance with Art.119 EPC, and where the time limit is triggered by such a notification.

For review of the notices issued by the EPO please see: OJ EPO 2022, A101, OJ EPO 2022, A114 and OJ EPO 2023, A29.  

It should also be noted that R.134(1) EPC still applies meaning that if a deadline falls on a day in which one of the EPOs offices is closed (e.g. in a weekend), it may be filed the next working day.