On the 13 October 2022 the Administrative Council of the European Patent Office (EPO) passed a number of rule changes intended to adapt the current rules of the European Patent Convention (EPC) to the digital age. Among these, it has been announced that the “ten-day” postal rule that applies to official communications issued by the EPO will no longer apply.

Under current EPO practice, a document is deemed to be delivered to the addressee on the tenth day following its handover to the postal services or on the tenth day following its transmission by means of electronic communication (the “ten-day rule”). From 1 November 2023, the EPO has announced that they will abandon this practice to strengthen their alignment with the PCT.

From 1 November 2023, the EPO will calculate the response period to EPO notifications from the date the notification bears. In exceptional circumstances when a document is delivered more than seven days after the date it bears, the response period will be extended by the number of days by which the seven days were exceeded.

If you have any queries on how these rule changes will affect your pending European patent application or would like more information on how best to protect your innovations and get the most out of your business in the most cost-effective manner, please do not hesitate to contact one of our advisers, either by email at mail@bailey-walsh.com or by telephone on 0113 2433824.