3.2. Inability to observe a time limit

The word "unable" in Art. 122(1) EPC implies an objective fact or obstacle preventing the required action, e.g. a wrong date inadvertently being entered into a monitoring system (T 413/91, see also T 1054/03, T 1026/06, T 493/08, T 1962/08, T 836/09, T 592/11). Unawareness of the expiry of the time limit must be distinguished from a deliberate act on the part of the applicant/representative which is attributable to tactical considerations or a legal error (see point 3.2.1 below). Persistent financial difficulties incurred by the persons concerned through no fault of their own have also been recognised as such an obstacle (see point 3.2.2 below).

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