1.2.1 Relevant criteria when time limits are extended upon request (R. 132(2), second sentence, EPC)

According to R. 132(2), second sentence, EPC (R. 84, second sentence, EPC 1973), in special cases, a certain period may be extended upon request. This provision gives discretionary power to departments of the EPO to decide on the request (T 954/98 of 9 December 1999, J 12/07, J 29/10). The Guidelines set out examples of special cases, see Guidelines E‑VIII, 1.6 – November 2018 version. Only a narrow definition of acceptable grounds for further extensions of time limits beyond a total period of six months is justified (J 12/07, J 29/10, see also T 79/99).

In T 79/99 the board held that when considering requests for additional time, it would take into account not only any reasons put forward but also the number of previous extensions (if any), the views of the other party or parties (if known), the effect of delays on other appeals pending before it and the general principle that all delays are to be avoided where possible.

The application of Art. 120 EPC 1973 and R. 84 EPC 1973 to cases where the time limits had expired before the entry into force of EPC 2000 is considered in J 12/07.

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