Do you love the “10-day grace period” for filing submissions with the EPO, after the official deadline set by the EPO?
If you answered YES, you MUST digest this!
Our beloved grace period, which often saved us from heartache and late nights, is to be abolished by the EPO. As of November 1, 2023, less than a year from now, an amendment to Rule 126(2) EPC will come into force. Under the amended Rule 126(2) EPC, a deadline will be a deadline and the “10-day grace period” will no longer be available.
Today, communication by email takes seconds instead of days, so it is understandable that the grace period—which was created to compensate for the vagaries and variability of postal delivery—is now seen as superfluous. In any event, the EPO still provides safe-guards for certain situations and processes, in case a document is nonetheless truly lost.
For day-to-day business we recommend that you adjust your docketing system to reflect the upcoming rule change. The 10-day grace period, as a handy buffer against last minute instructions, will soon be a thing of the past.
If you have questions, we are happy to help!