3.1.1
Time limits covered 

Failure to observe the time limit must have the direct consequence of causing the refusal of the European patent application or of a request, or the deeming of the European patent application to have been withdrawn, or the revocation of the European patent, or the loss of any other right or means of redress. This means, for example, that in opposition proceedings there can be no re-establishment of rights in respect of the time limits for the patent proprietor’s submission of his observations on the written statements of the other parties to the proceedings or on communications from the opposition division. Likewise, there can be no re-establishment of rights in case of failure to observe the time limit for the payment of the renewal fees under Rule 51(1) as valid payment is still possible under Rule 51(2).

Re-establishment of rights is ruled out in respect of all periods for which further processing is available and in respect of the period for requesting re-establishment of rights. This means that re-establishment of rights comes into play where further processing is excluded in respect of a specific period or where the time limit for requesting further processing has expired. In the latter case, re-establishment of rights is to be requested in respect of the time limit for requesting further processing is to be requested (see E‑VIII, 2), and not in respect of the originally missed time limit.

A "time limit" is taken to mean a specific period of time within which an act vis-à-vis the EPO must be completed (see E‑VIII, 1.1). Re-establishment of rights is therefore not admissible e.g. in respect of failure to be present on the date of appointed oral proceedings.

The following are examples of cases where re-establishment of rights may be requested. They concern the time limits for:

– 
payment of a renewal fee plus additional fee; 
– 
requesting further processing in respect of the time limit for replying to a communication from the examining division under Art. 94(3);
– 
filing the translation of any amended claims in opposition proceedings;  
– 
filing the request for a decision by the opposition division on the awarding of costs; 

Rule 88(3)

Rule 88(2)

– 
filing notice of appeal; and 
– 
filing a petition for review by the Enlarged Board of Appeal. 

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