A new fiction for notification and time limit calculation will enter into force on November 1st, 2023.
1. Under the current EPC system, letters from the EPO are deemed to be delivered to the addressee on the tenth day following their handover to the postal service provider.
The transition to electronic communications renders this rule obsolete, as delivery is much faster and generally occurs on the same day.
Thus, the Administrative Council of the EPO decided to abolish the 10-day rule.
2. According to the revised notification fiction, the communications will be deemed notified on the date they bear.
As a safeguard measure, if the document is delivered to the addressee more than seven days after the date it bears, the period for responding to the communication will be extended by the number of days by which the seven days were exceeded. In this case, the Applicant needs to point out the late delivery of the document, and the safeguard will be applied once the EPO has established the delivery date.
In the event of a dispute concerning the delivery of a document, the burden of proof of (timely) delivery of the communication remains with the EPO.
3. The revised notification fiction will enter into force on November 1st, 2023.
It will apply for communications from the EPO bearing a date from November 1st, 2023. This means that, for communications dated prior to November 1st, 2023, the 10-day postal fiction remains applicable.
More information is available here: https://www.epo.org/en/legal/official-journal/2023/03/a29.html
This IP Alert is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.