Fri 27th Mar 2020

UK trade marks and design rights and UK IPO service changes due to Covid-19 disruption

The UKIPO announced changes to its services on 27 March 2020 as a result of the business /postal disruption during the coronavirus pandemic.

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


You should check the UKIPO website for the latest news as the guidelines on the coronavirus are changing frequently. 


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 British 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 in the relevant UK Acts and Rules, and to all non-statutory periods specified by staff at the UK IPO.


It does not apply to time periods under 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.


Click here to read the news release on interrupted days.


Filing dates for IP applications


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


Trade mark and design examinations


For new trade mark examination reports, the UKIPO will allow four months to respond, not the current two month period.


The UKIPO is unable to extend the reply period for British national design examination reports, but extensions of time are available.


Trade mark publication for opposition


Most accepted trade marks will be published for opposition purposes. There may be a delay in the UKIPO arranging publication in some cases.


Trade mark and design registration certificates


There will be a delay in receiving trade mark and design registration certificates which are sent by post.


International applications and registrations


The UKIPO will continue to process international applications and use email where possible.


Click here to read the full UKIPO announcement on trade marks and design rights.



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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