The EPC imposes time limits upon parties to proceedings. In the EPC, a "time limit" is a period of time of defined duration, calculated in full years, months, weeks or days, by reference to a relevant event (J 18/04), within which an act vis-à-vis the EPO has to be completed.
Some of these are fixed by the articles of the EPC, e.g. Art. 87(1) (priority period) and Art. 99(1) (opposition). Others are fixed in the Implementing Regulations, e.g. in Rule 30(3) (payment of late-furnishing fee), Rule 38 (payment of filing and search fee), Rule 39(1) (payment of designation fees), Rule 58 (correction of deficiencies in application documents), Rule 70(1) (request for examination), Rule 71(3) (filing translations of the claims and payment of fees for grant and publishing) and Rule 112(2) (applying for a decision after notification of loss of rights).
Others take the form of a stipulated range, the precise period within this range being at the EPO's discretion.
In other cases, e.g. those dealt with in Rule 3(3) (filing translation of documentary evidence), or Rule 70(2) (invitation to applicants to indicate whether they desire to proceed further with the European patent application), a period, but not its duration, is provided for in the EPC. The duration must be specified by the EPO in accordance with Rule 132 (see E‑VIII, 1.2).