3.2.2 Financial difficulties

In J 22/88 (OJ 1990, 244) the Legal Board held that financial difficulties experienced through no fault of one's own and leading to failure to observe time limits for the payment of fees could constitute grounds for granting re-establishment of rights. A prerequisite for granting the request was that the applicant should have tried with all due care to obtain financial support. The board also made it clear that for "all due care" to be proven, it had, of course, to be clear that the financial difficulties were genuine and were due to circumstances beyond the reasonable control of the applicant (see also J 31/89, T 822/93). In J 9/89 the board noted that there was no evidence before the board of any effort having been made by or on behalf of the appellant to find financial support during the critical period.

In J 11/98 the applicant requested re-establishment in respect of the time limit for paying the renewal fee, on the grounds that at the relevant times the appellant had been seeking protection under Chapter 11 of US bankruptcy law. The board confirmed the examining division's decision refusing the request. The applicant had not shown that at the relevant time it had been so lacking in funds as to be absolutely unable to make the payment. Only the latter situation had been accepted by the board, in an exceptional case (J 22/88), as a ground for re-establishment. In the case at issue, the non-payment of the renewal fee was due not to an absolute inability to pay but to the applicant's business priorities at the time.

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