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Abolition of 10 day postal delay period by EPO

By Greg Ward, Partner

The longstanding EPO practice under which many notifications from the EPO are deemed to have been delivered to the addressee on the 10th day following the date of the document, to account for postal delays, is due to be abolished soon. Accordingly, for response periods determined based on notifications from the EPO, the response period will be effectively shortened when compared to current practice.

The abolition of the practice comes into force as of 1 November 2023; for any notifications dated on or after 1 November 2023, the date of notification will be taken to be the date of the document. For the avoidance of doubt, the current practice for postal delays will be applied for notifications dated earlier than 1 November 2023.

Of course, your usual HLK contacts will be sure to report the correct deadlines for response to you. However, you may need to update your deadline docketing practices to take into account the new EPO practice.

Provisions under the EPC to account for situations where notifications are received “exceptionally late” (which the EPO defines as more than 7 days from the date of the document), or not received at all, are retained. An Official Journal Notice from the EPO concerning the change in practice can be found here.

If you have any questions, your usual HLK contacts will be happy to help.

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