I intend to file a patent application (a first filing) on a Sunday. Does the EPO accord a filing date also on a day on which it is closed?

Yes. For European patent applications, provided the requirements under Article 80 EPC and Rule 40 EPC are met, a filing date is also accorded for days on which the EPO is closed (see Rule 40(1) EPC). For international applications, the same applies, provided that the requirements of Article 11(1) PCT are met. If you use one of the EPO's online filing tools – the simplest way to file an application from anywhere at any time – an acknowledgement of receipt is automatically issued on submission; the date of receipt indicated in the acknowledgement will be the accorded filing date, provided that the applicable requirements are met.

The following options for filing applications with the EPO ensure that the filing date is the date of successful submission, irrespective of the time, including on a day the EPO is closed and outside office hours:

  • electronic filing using Online Filing (OLF), Online Filing 2.0 or Webform Filing (see OJ EPO 2023, A48)  – or ePCT for international applications
  • filing by facsimile (see OJ EPO 2019, A18, Article 5)
  • filing using the automated mailbox at the EPO filing office in Munich (at the PschorrHöfe) or the one at the EPO filing office in Berlin (see OJ EPO 2017, A11); the date of receipt is applied by an automated stamp and will become the accorded filing date
  • handing the application documents to the porter (also possible outside office hours) (see OJ EPO 2017, A11, Article 1(3), and Guidelines for Examination in the EPO A-II, 1.1); the porter applies a date stamp to the envelope containing your application documents, which will become the accorded filing date