11.065. Can a delay in meeting time limits caused by “force majeure” circumstances be excused? The provisions of Rule 82quater provide a basis for a general excuse of delay in meeting time limits before Offices, Authorities or the International Bureau during the international phase, when resulting from force majeure circumstances like war, revolution, civil disorder, strike, natural calamity, a general unavailability of electronic communications services or other like reason in the locality where the applicant resides, has his place of business or is staying. The excuse of delay only applies to time limits fixed in the Regulations and therefore it neither applies to the priority period, since the priority period is set by Article 4C of the Paris Convention (for restoration of the right of priority see paragraphs 5.062 to 5.068), nor to the time limit for entering the national phase in accordance with Articles 22 and 39 (see paragraphs 5.005 and 5.006).
11.065A. What steps must be taken when an applicant fails to meet a time limit? The applicant must take the relevant actions (submission of documents, responses to invitations or the payment of fees) as soon as reasonably possible. Generally, this means within a short period of the cause of the delay ceasing to apply. For example, in cases where a strike prevented an agent from reaching his office, it would be expected that the action should, in most cases, be taken either the next working day or shortly thereafter, depending on how much preparatory work had been disrupted. On the other hand, where a disaster has resulted in the complete destruction of an agents files, it would reasonably be expected to take longer to reassemble all the necessary documents and systems to allow the necessary action to be taken. In the case of general unavailability of electronic communications services, the applicant must establish that the outage affected a widespread geographical area rather than being a localized problem, that it was unexpected or unforeseen, and that there was no alternative communication means available to him. The request for the excusing of the delay and the relevant evidence must be submitted to the competent Office or Authority or the International Bureau as soon as reasonably possible and, in any case, not later than six months after the expiration of the applicable time limit.
As to the form of evidence, for example, a news report from a reliable mass media outlet, or a statement or announcement from the relevant national authority is normally acceptable for this purpose. In the case of general unavailability of electronic communications services, a statement from the provider of Internet services or the company providing electricity to the applicant may also be acceptable.
Date retrieved: 24 November 2017