The European Patent Office (EPO) adapts its regulations to the digital age

According to the Administrative Council of the EPO has decided to give up the so-called “10-day rule”.

Current Rule 126(2) EPC states that a “letter shall be deemed to be delivered to the addressee on the tenth day following its handover to the postal service provider”.

The “10-day rule” applies even if a letter was delivered within the 10-day period.

The effect of this rule is that response deadlines mentioned in notifications such as examination reports notified by the EPO start from the notification date instead of the date mentioned on the particular notification.

As a relic from the pre-digital era the Administrative Council decided to give up the “10-day rule”. This change will be accompanied by a package of additional changes of rules.

Abolishing the “10-day rule” will have the effect that notification will be considered to occur on the day the notification is sent by the EPO.

In practice this change will have the positive effect that calculations of EPO deadlines will be simplified. On the other hand deadlines for responding to notifications will be shortened.

However, this change will not come into effect until 1 November 2023.