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Guidelines for Examination

 
 
1.7
Late receipt of documents 

The fiction that a time limit has been observed is created provided a document received late was posted or delivered to one of the delivery services recognised by the President of the EPO (Chronopost, DHL, Federal Express, flexpress, TNT, SkyNet and UPS) at least five days before expiry of the time limit and was received no later than three months after expiry of the time limit (see Decision of the President of the EPO dated 14 July 2007, Special edition No. 3, OJ EPO 2007, I.1). Rule 133 applies to all time limits to be observed vis-à-vis the Office and/or the national authorities, including the priority period laid down in Art. 87(1). The document must have been sent as a registered letter or in a form of consignment corresponding to registration and, if posted outside Europe, by airmail. Within the meaning of Rule 133, a document is deemed to have been posted or delivered to a delivery service within Europe if it was despatched in one of the states belonging to the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) (in addition to the EPC Contracting States these are the states listed below) or in a state which is generally understood to be part of Europe. At the request of the EPO, confirmation of registration by the post office or of receipt by the delivery service must be provided as evidence that the document was posted in due time. Despite this legal fiction that the time limit has been observed, the filing date of the document remains the day on which it was actually received.

The following non-Contracting States belong to the CEPT (updated 1 November 20121):

Andorra, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Moldova, Montenegro, Russian Federation, Ukraine and Vatican.

References

Rule 133(1)