I received a communication pursuant to R 79(1) EPC to respond to an opposition within four months. I would like a six-month extension, but know it's not automatic. How can I obtain an extension of the time limit?

You are right that, since the introduction of the streamlined opposition procedure on 1 July 2016, requests for extensions of time limits to six months are no longer granted “automatically”. The streamlined procedure was introduced with the aim of bringing about a speedy resolution to opposition proceedings, and thus to enhance legal certainty about patent rights. The procedure also ensures your right to be heard and gives you more time to prepare for oral proceedings.

A request for extension of a time limit can be granted in exceptional, duly substantiated cases only. The reasons for the request must be sufficient to show convincingly that more time is required for the reply. This may apply when experiments or tests are needed, multiple opponents are involved or the case requires the taking of evidence.

For further information on the streamlined opposition procedure, see the