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EPO to end the “ten day rule” from 1 November 2023

October 2022

It has been widely reported that the Administrative Council of the EPO has passed a number of rule changes to the EPC, including the abolition of Rule 126(2), otherwise known as “the ten day rule”.

The ten day rule stipulates that documents sent by the EPO are deemed to be delivered ten days after the date printed on the document. This provides a grace period of ten days to account for delivery days which is added to any deadlines to respond to EPO documents.

Now that the EPO is moving towards a completely digital document delivery system, it has deemed the ten day rule is no longer necessary. Therefore, as of the 1 November 2023, the ten day rule will not exist and the date on the document will be the date the document is deemed to have been delivered to the recipient.

It is not known yet whether transitional provisions will be set out. It is expected, however, that some form of safeguard will be put in place for cases in which a document is not delivered on the same day. If a recipient alleges that a document was not delivered on time, it will be up to the EPO to prove that it was delivered on time.

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