Fri 27th Mar 2020

Patents and UK IPO changes to services under Covid-19 disruption

The UKIPO issued details of changes to their services on 27 March 2020 as a result of the disruption to applicants’ businesses and the ability to receive and send post during the current coronavirus pandemic.

It is consistent with action taken by other intellectual property offices such as the European Patent Office and the European Union Intellectual Property Office, and will be reviewed in three weeks’ time (17 April 2020).


You should check the UKIPO website for the latest guidance in conjunction with this article, as the guidelines on the coronavirus (Covid-19) are changing daily. 


Interrupted days and time extensions


The Intellectual Property Office has declared 24 March 2020 and subsequent days until further notice to be ‘interrupted days’.


This means that any deadlines for patents, supplementary protection certificates, trade marks, designs, and applications for these rights which fall on an interrupted day will be extended to the next non-interrupted day.


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 are available under the various international systems.


Click here to read the news release on interrupted days.


Filing dates for new IP applications

This period of interruption does not affect filing dates of IP applications which are filed at the UKIPO and that do not claim priority from a previous application. These will be assigned a filing date under the usual rules.


Publishing and granting of patent applications

Publishing and granting of patent applications will continue within usual time frames.


Time limits

The UKIPO has said that it will set more generous time periods where legislation allows.


This briefing is for general information purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice relating to your particular circumstances. We can discuss specific issues and facts on an individual basis. Please note that the law may have changed since the day this was first published in March 2020.



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