Both the European Patent Office (EPO) and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) have issued information on deadline extensions related to the recent earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria.
EPO has issued the following information:
1. In view of the earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria attention is drawn to the general legal remedies provided for under the European Patent Convention in cases of non-observance of time limits, in particular, to the application of Rule 134(2) EPC in accordance with this Notice, as well as the possible application of Rule 134(5) EPC and Rule 82quater.1 PCT.
2. In the case of parties having their residence in Türkiye or who have appointed representatives having their place of business in Türkiye, time limits expiring in the period from 6 February to 6 April are extended to 7 April 2023 pursuant to Rule 134(2) EPC.
3. Without prejudice to paragraph 2 of this Notice, Rule 134(5) EPC offers a safeguard in the case of non-observance of a time limit as a result of a dislocation in the delivery or transmission of mail caused by an exceptional occurrence such as a natural disaster or other like reasons affecting the locality where an applicant, a party or their representative resides or has their place of business. This provision applies to cases where the failure to observe time limits is the result of exceptional circumstances beyond the control of the person concerned and may therefore be invoked by any applicants, parties to proceedings or their representatives affected by the earthquakes in Syria.
4. Pursuant to Rule 134(5) EPC, any document received late will be deemed to have been received in due time if the person concerned offers evidence that on any of the ten days preceding the day of expiry of a time limit the mail service was dislocated on account of the effects of the earthquakes and that the mailing or the transmission was effected at the latest on the fifth day after the end of the disruption.
5. Without prejudice to paragraph 2 of this Notice, as for time limits and conditions applicable under the PCT, applicants are referred to Rule 82quater.1 PCT. This provision applies to international applications pending in the international phase, but not to the period for claiming priority. Nevertheless, if an international application is received at the EPO after expiry of the priority period, restoration of the right of priority pursuant to Rule 26bis.3 PCT may be available.
Regarding EUIPO, the have also issued Decision EX-23-4 granting an extension of time limits to all parties in proceedings before the Office having their residence or registered office in Türkiye or Syria. It extends all time limits expiring between 6 February 2023 and 15 March inclusive until 16 March 2023.
On 6 February 2023, an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 on the Richter scale occurred in Türkiye and Syria followed by at least two other major earthquakes. This natural disaster of unusual and exceptional magnitude has prevented parties in Türkiye and Syria from accessing the Office’s electronic systems and has rendered proper communication with the Office very problematic or impossible. In light of these devastating events and the extreme disruption it has caused, an extension has been granted in order to ensure that all parties are given a reasonable opportunity to respond to deadlines and other obligations before the Office.