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European Patent Convention (EPC 1973)

 
 

Rule 85 118/119

Extension of time limits

Art. 120



(1) If a time limit expires on a day on which one of the filing offices of the European Patent Office in the sense of Article 75, paragraph 1(a) is not open for receipt of documents or on which, for reasons other than those referred to in paragraph 2, ordinary mail is not delivered there, the time limit shall extend until the first day thereafter on which all the filing offices are open for receipt of documents and on which ordinary mail is delivered.


(2) If a time limit expires on a day on which there is a general interruption or subsequent dislocation in the delivery of mail in a Contracting State or between a Contracting State and the European Patent Office, the time limit shall extend to the first day following the end of the period of interruption or dislocation for parties resident in the State concerned or who have appointed representatives with a place of business in that State. The first sentence shall apply mutatis mutandis to the period referred to in Article 77, paragraph 5. In the case where the State concerned is the State in which the European Patent Office is located, this provision shall apply to all parties. The duration of the above-mentioned period shall be as stated by the President of the European Patent Office.


(3) Paragraphs 1 and 2 shall apply mutatis mutandis to the time limits provided for in the Convention in the case of transactions carried out with the competent authority in accordance with Article 75, paragraph 1(b) or paragraph 2(b).


(4)120 If an exceptional occurrence such as a natural disaster or strike interrupts or dislocates the proper functioning of the European Patent Office so that any communication from the Office to parties concerning the expiry of a time limit is delayed, acts to be completed within such a time limit may still be validly completed within one month after the notification of the delayed communication. The date of commencement and the end of any such interruption or dislocation shall be as stated by the President of the European Patent Office.


(5)121 Without prejudice to paragraphs 1 to 4, evidence may be offered that on any of the ten days preceding the day of expiration of a time limit the mail service was interrupted or subsequently dislocated on account of war, revolution, civil disorder, strike, natural calamity, or other like reason, in the locality where the party or his representative resides or has his place of business or is staying. If such circumstances are proven to the satisfaction of the European Patent Office, a document received late shall be deemed to have been received in due time provided that the mailing has been effected within five days after the mail service was resumed.



118 See Legal advice No. 5/93 rev. (Annex II).

119 Last amended by decision of the Administrative Council of 13.12.1994 which entered into force on 01.06.1995 (OJ EPO 1995, 9 ff).

120 Inserted by decision of the Administrative Council of 14.02.1985 which entered into force on 10.12.1984 (OJ EPO 1985, 33).

121 Inserted by decision of the Administrative Council of 18.10.2001 which entered into force on 11.09.2001 (OJ EPO 2001, 491 ff).

Cross-reference list
R. 85 R. 134