If a period expires on a day on which one of the filing offices of the European Patent Office under Rule 35, paragraph 1, is not open for receipt of documents or on which, for reasons other than those referred to in paragraph 2, mail is not delivered there, the period shall extend to the first day thereafter on which all the filing offices are open for receipt of documents and on which mail is delivered. The first sentence shall apply mutatis mutandis if documents filed by one of the means of electronic communication permitted by the President of the European Patent Office under Rule 2, paragraph 1, cannot be received.
If a period expires on a day on which there is a general dislocation in the delivery or transmission of mail in a Contracting State, the period shall extend to the first day following the end of the interval of dislocation for parties which are resident in the State concerned or have appointed representatives with a place of business in that State. Where the State concerned is the State in which the European Patent Office is located, this provision shall apply to all parties and their representatives. This paragraph shall apply mutatis mutandis to the period referred to in Rule 37, paragraph 2.
The date of commencement and the end of any dislocation under paragraph 2 shall be published by the European Patent Office.
Without prejudice to paragraphs 1 to 4, a party concerned may produce evidence that on any of the ten days preceding the day of expiry of a period the delivery or transmission of mail was dislocated due to an exceptional occurrence such as a natural disaster, war, civil disorder, a general breakdown in any of the means of electronic communication permitted by the President of the European Patent Office under Rule 2, paragraph 1, or other like reasons affecting the locality where the party or his representative resides or has his place of business. If the evidence produced satisfies the European Patent Office, a document received late shall be deemed to have been received in due time, provided that the mailing or the transmission was effected at the latest on the fifth day after the end of the dislocation.
See the list of days in 20162020 on which EPO filing offices and national patent authorities of the EPC contracting states are closed (OJ EPO 2019, A7, A22, A33 and A72OJ EPO 2020, A7 and OJ EPO 2020, A56).
See also the notice from the EPO dated 18.01.2018 concerning the safeguards available under the EPC and the PCT in case of unavailability of means of electronic communication (OJ EPO 2018, A25).