Notice of the President of the European Patent Office dated 5 November 2012 concerning the problems caused by Hurricane Sandy in the USA beginning on 29 October 2012
In view of the problems
caused by Hurricane Sandy, which reached the East Coast of the US on
29 October 2012, attention is drawn to the general legal remedies provided
for under the European Patent Convention and under the PCT in case of
non-observance of time limits, and in particular, to the possible application
of Rule 134(5) EPC and Rule 82quater.1 PCT.
Rule 134(5) EPC offers a safeguard in the case of
non-observance of a time limit as a result of a dislocation in the delivery or
transmission of mail caused by an exceptional occurrence such as a natural
disaster, affecting the locality where an applicant, a party or their
representative resides or has his place of business.
to this provision, any document received late will be deemed to have been
received in due time if the person concerned offers evidence that:
any of the ten days preceding the day of expiry of a period, delivery or
transmission of mail was dislocated due to this natural disaster; and
the mailing or transmission of the document was effected within five days after
mail delivery or transmission resumed.
for time limits and conditions applicable under the PCT, applicants are
referred to new Rule 82quater.1 PCT. Thus, where the interested party offers
satisfactory evidence that a time limit under the PCT was not met due to
natural calamity or other like reason in the locality where the interested
party resides, has his place of business or is staying, and that the relevant
action was taken as soon as reasonably possible (and no later than six months
after the expiration of the time limit applicable in the given case), such
delay in meeting the time limit shall be excused. This applies to international
applications pending in the international phase. However, this provision does not apply to
the priority period. Nevertheless, if an international application is received
at the EPO after expiry of the priority period, restoration of the right of
priority pursuant to Rule 26bis.3 PCT may be available.
the EPO has issued a communication noting loss of rights, applicants may
request further processing under Article 121 EPC or re-establishment of
rights under Article 122 EPC where appropriate.