The time limits in force at the date of stay are interrupted by the stay of proceedings. The time which has not yet elapsed begins to run as from the date on which proceedings are resumed; however, the time still to run after the resumption of the proceedings must not be less than two months.
A communication under Rule 82(2) maintaining the patent in amended form is despatched by the EPO on 24.01.2018. Under Rule 126(2) and Rule 131(2), this communication is deemed delivered on 03.02.2018. The three-month period to pay the publication fee and file the translation of any amended claim starts on the day following delivery of the communication, i.e. on 04.02.2018, and it ends on 03.05.2018. Attention is drawn to amended Rules 126, Rule 127 and Rule 131 entering into force on 1 November 2023 and under which computation of periods will change. Detailed information on the changes in practice will be published in the Official Journal of the EPO well in advance.
If proceedings are stayed under Rule 14(1) by the Legal Division on 23.02.2018, the three-month period has elapsed from 04.02.2018 to 22.02.2018 before the event of the staying of the proceedings, i.e. 19 days have already passed and the period remaining is 9 days and 2 months. Since the remaining period is longer than two months, under Rule 14(4) it will run after the resumption of the proceedings.
Hence, if the proceedings are resumed by the Legal Division on 07.06.2018, the period for paying the publication fee and filing the translation of the claims runs until 16.08.2018 for the following reasons:
(i)the day of resumption of the proceedings by the Legal Division (07.06.2018) is the first day on which the remaining period starts running again (Rule 131(2) does not apply).
(ii)The remaining days are added first and then the remaining months: in the example, 9 days from and including 07.06.2018 results in 15.06.2018, and the addition of another 2 months results in the remaining period expiring on 15.08.2018.
(iii)Since Rule 134(1) applies also to the remaining period and since on the 15.08.2018 no mail is delivered in Munich (public holiday), the time limit is extended until 16.08.2018.