Mon 6th Apr 2020
Intellectual Property Offices – Service disruptions due to COVID-19
Sectors: AI and data science, Brand owners, Chemistry, Cleantech and renewables, Electronics and telecoms, Fashion, Finance and insurance, Food and drink, Life sciences and health, Materials science, Mechanical engineering, Software patents
It seems that some of the Intellectual Property Offices are experiencing issues, but some have arranged extensions of deadlines. Some offices have closed. Problems are occurring in the courts where some hearings are being cancelled.
Nevertheless, there are certain Intellectual Property Office deadlines that cannot be extended. Please do not assume a deadline has been extended, without checking with us first.
Here are links to the latest notifications from the key Intellectual Property Offices:
UK Intellectual Property Office
Many deadlines for patents, supplementary protection certificates, trade marks, designs, and applications for these rights will be extended. This applies to all time periods set out in the various relevant UK Acts and Rules, and to all non-statutory periods that have been specified by UKIPO staff.
It does not apply to time periods set out under the various international IP treaties e.g. the Patent Cooperation Treaty, European Patent Convention, or the Madrid system, where the UKIPO may be acting as a Receiving Office. Remedies may be available under the various international systems.
Filing dates of IP applications which are filed at the UKIPO and that do not claim priority from a previous application will be assigned a filing date under the usual rules.
The publishing and granting of patent applications will continue within usual time frames.
The UKIPO has said that it will set more generous time periods where legislation allows.
German Patent and Trademark Office
Time limits for all IP proceedings set by the German Patent and Trademark Office are extended until 4 May 2020, and no decision will be handed down before that date on account of a time limit expiring. However, the German Patent and Trade Mark Office is unable to extend time limits that are stipulated by law.
Hearings and oral proceedings will no longer be held, and any which have been scheduled will be cancelled. No summonses will be issued.
German civil courts
Some hearings will be cancelled, but we will let you know if there are any changes in scheduled dates.
Federal Patent Court (BPatG)
The BPatG has set up an emergency service. Oral proceedings in the period between now and 19 April 2020 have been cancelled.
Applications, actions and submissions can be filed in the usual manner. Safeguards are in place to ensure they are processed.
European Patent Office
Periods expiring on or after 15 March 2020 are extended for all parties and their representatives until 17 April 2020, and this may be extended if required.
All oral proceedings scheduled until 17 April 2020 in appeal, examination and opposition proceedings have been postponed, unless they have already been confirmed to take place by means of videoconferencing.
European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO)
Time limits expiring between 9 March 2020 and 30 April 2020 are extended until 1 May 2020 which is effectively an extension until 4 May 2020.
World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is continuing operations under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), the Madrid System for the International Registration of Marks, the Hague System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs, the Lisbon System for the International Registration of Geographical Indications as well as administering other intellectual property (IP) and related systems.
WIPO's Arbitration and Mediation Center (AMC) is also continuing its important work in processing domain name disputes under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) and other alternative dispute resolution cases.
How we can help
Please do not hesitate to contact your usual patent or trade mark attorney or if you have any questions on the above.