EPO’s abolition of the “10-day rule”

The EPO’s 10 day postal rule, that allows extra time when responding to many communication, is set to be abolished towards the end of 2023.

As services and procedures of the EPO have become ever more digitalised it was foreseeable that the regulations of the EPO would be adapted accordingly. It is therefore unsurprising that the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA) have reported that the Administrative Council of the EPO have, on 13 October 2022, passed a package of rule changes “to adapt the rules of the EPC to the digital age”.

Notably amongst these adaptations there is a change to Rule 126(2) EPC governing the date on which a document sent by the EPO is deemed to have been delivered. In particular, the change is that the “10-day rule” will be abolished. As such, the date a document is deemed to be delivered will be deemed to be the date that is stated on the document and will soon no longer include the additional 10 days. The new rule will not apply with immediate effect, and instead will come into force on 1 November 2023.

CIPA have further reported that there are safeguards contained in the new rule that account for cases in which a document is not delivered on time. If the recipient of a document alleges that said document was not delivered on time, the burden of proof will lie with the EPO to show that it was delivered on time.

Practically, this means that applicants will have less time to respond to communications from the EPO and the calculation of EPO deadlines will be simplified. It is thus prudent for all concerned parties to adapt their internal processes and systems by 1 November 2023 to account for this change.

We await further details from the EPO itself regarding these rule changes.


Daniel Huxley


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