Rule 161 EPC Period Extended to 6 Months from 1 May 2011

Just a quick reminder that the Rule 161 and 162 EPC periods are to be extended to 6 months from 1 May 2011.

Updated Rules 161 and 162 EPC shall apply to Euro-PCT applications in respect of which no communication
under existing Rules 161 and 162 EPC has been issued by 1 May 2011.

The EPO Notice setting this out can be found here: http://archive.epo.org/epo/pubs/oj010/12_10/12_6340.pdf .

This is a welcome change. Before, the time period was 1 month, which was rather onerous for applicants. The 6 month time limit will likely also help the EPO, as more care and consideration can be put into substantive responses to outstanding objections on applications.

(As a quick reminder the Rule 161 EPC period sets a time limit in which a response needs to be filed at the EPO addressing any deficiencies noted in the PCT Search Report Written Opinion or in the International Preliminary Examination Report. This may be comments in a letter and/or amendments. If this is not filed the European application is deemed to be withdrawn. Rule 162 EPC sets a period in which to pay excess claims fees. See previous post: here.)

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