From 1st November 2023, EPO communications will be deemed to be notified to the addressee on the date they bear (the ‘date of the communication’). This will apply to postal communications under amended Rule 126(2) EPC, and to electronic communications under amended Rule 127(2) EPC. This follows Decision CA/D 10/22 of the Administrative Council, reported here and published in the Official Journal here.
Prior to this, the EPO applied a “10-day rule” in which a communication was deemed to be notified to the addressee 10 days after it was handed over to the postal services, or 10 days after it was electronically transmitted. The practical effect of the 10-day rule was that time limits that depended on the date of notification included the additional 10 days for notification – effectively extending time limits. This will no longer be the case from 1st November 2023, and time limits dependent on the date of notification will be calculated from the date of the communication without adding 10 days.
Safeguards remain available for documents that were not received by the European Patent Attorney or were received by them more than 7 days after the date shown on the document. If you have any questions regarding this change, please feel free to reach out to your usual Carpmaels contact.