A revised version of this publication entered into force.
5.10.007If you miss a time limit vis-à-vis the EPO, it is in most cases sufficient to request further processing of the application. Further processing must be requested within two months of the date on which the communication concerning either the failure to observe a time limit or a loss of rights is notified. Further processing must be requested by payment of the prescribed fee. The omitted act must be completed within the period for making the request. No reasons for failing to observe the time limit need to be given. Further processing is ruled out in respect of certain time limits as listed in Article 121(4) and Rule 135(2).
5.10.008Re-establishment of rights (restitutio in integrum) is available for those time limits for which further processing is ruled out. However, a request for re-establishment of rights can be granted only if you were unable to meet the time limit despite taking all due care required by the circumstances.
If you act through a representative, your application for re-establishment can be granted only if the representative has also exercised all due care demanded of the applicant under Article 122(1).
5.10.009Re-establishment of rights is excluded in respect of those time limits for which further processing is available and in respect of the period for requesting re-establishment of rights. Re-establishment of rights is however available if you missed the time limit for requesting further processing. Further processing and re-establishment of rights are not available if you missed the time limit for paying extension and/or validation fees, as these are not EPC periods (see, however, point 4.3.017).
5.10.010Requests for re-establishment of rights must be filed within two months from the removal of the cause of non-compliance with the time limit, but at the latest within one year of expiry of the unobserved time limit. The omitted act must be completed within the same period. Requests for re-establishment of rights in respect of any of the periods specified in Article 87(1) and in Article 112a(4) must however be filed within two months of expiry of that period.
The request must state the grounds on which it is based and must set out the facts on which it relies. It must set forth the precise cause of non-compliance with the time limit concerned (i.e. the fact or obstacle which prevented the required action from being taken within the time limit), specify how and when it was removed, and present the core facts.
The request is not deemed to have been filed until the fee for re-establishment of rights has been paid. Where several independent procedural acts have been omitted, each resulting in the application being deemed withdrawn, a fee for re-establishment is due for each omitted act.
Where re-establishment of rights has to be requested in respect of the time limit(s) for requesting further processing, the number of unobserved time limits, each resulting in the application being deemed withdrawn and requiring a request for further processing, determines the number of requests for re-establishment and the corresponding number of fees for re-establishment.