EUROPEAN PATENT OFFICE
Information from the EPO
Notice from the European Patent Office dated 16 June 2019 concerning implementation of amended Rule 126(1) EPC
By decision dated 28 March 20191 the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation amended Rule 126(1) EPC to discontinue the use of advices of delivery. This notice gives information on the implementation of the amended rule. For the background to the amendment, see CA/27/19.2
1. Amended Rule 126(1) EPC will enter into force on 1 November 2019. As from that date all notifications by postal services will be by registered letter only. This will affect in particular decisions incurring a period for appeal or a petition for review and summonses. Notices and communications from which no time limit is reckoned, or which do not require notification under the EPC or by order of the EPO President, will continue to be sent by ordinary mail.
2. To enable the on-time implementation of the amended rule in the EPO's IT systems, from 1 August 2019 notifications by registered letter with advice of delivery may already include a footer indicating "registered letter" only. This will have no impact on either the date of entry into force of the amended rule or the requirements applicable before that date.
3. The EPO will continue to enclose the acknowledgement of receipt form (EPO Form 2936) with notifications by registered letter of decisions incurring a period for appeal and summonses.3 Addressees will still be requested to date and sign the form and return it immediately, preferably via the EPO's online services (as an annex to EPO Form 1038).4 This notice supersedes the notice from the EPO dated 10 June 2010 (OJ EPO 2010, 377) concerning enclosure of a standard acknowledgement of receipt (EPO Form 2936) in the case of notifications by registered letter with advice of delivery.
4. Notifications by the Boards of Appeal which concern decisions, summonses, communications drawing attention to formal deficiencies or noting a loss of rights, and such other documents as may be determined by a Board of Appeal in a particular case, will also be effected by registered letter and include the relevant acknowledgment of receipt form (EPO Form 3936). The same will apply to notifications by the Enlarged Board of Appeal.
5. For the sake of completeness, it is noted that all other provisions governing notification will remain unaffected, in particular those in Rule 126(2) EPC. Accordingly, delivery to the addressee will still be deemed to be made on the tenth day following the notification's handover to the postal service provider, unless it has failed to reach the addressee or has reached him at a later date. In the event of any dispute, it will still be incumbent on the EPO to establish either that the notification has reached its destination or to establish the date on which it was delivered to the addressee. The acknowledgement of receipt form returned to the EPO may be used in the assessment of the actual date of notification.
1 CA/D 2/19, OJ EPO 2019, A31.
2 Available at epo.org/ac-documents.
3 No acknowledgement of receipt form is enclosed with electronic notifications.
4 It will remain possible to return the acknowledgement of receipt form by post or fax (+49 89 2399-4465 or +31 70 340-3016).