16 March 2020
EPO Deadlines extended until 17 April 2020; EUIPO deadlines to 30 April 2020
You will all be aware of the impact that the CoVid-19 virus outbreak is having around the world. Users and staff of Intellectual Property Offices are naturally also being affected. Abel & Imray have already made preparations for the likely impact of such a scenario on business activities and will continue to operate effectively to look after your IP matters throughout this changing situation thus enabling you to focus on the plans and people of your organisation.
Over the weekend, the European Patent Office (EPO) and the European Union IPO (which administers EU trade marks and designs) have both announced that deadlines falling in the coming weeks will be extended:
At the European Patent Office, all official deadlines falling within the period 15 March 2020 to 16 April 2020 inclusive are now extended to 17 April 2020. This includes the 12-month priority deadline for new European applications which claim priority from earlier applications and the 31-month deadline for entering PCT applications in to the European regional phase at the EPO.
For PCT applications being filed at the EPO as Receiving Office, the EPO’s automatic extension of the 12-month priority deadline does not apply. Instead, there is a more stringent provision under the PCT: for the deadline to be extended, the applicant will have to provide evidence to show that conditions in the locality where the applicant resides caused the original deadline to be missed.
The EPO’s notice makes it clear that this period might be extended further, depending on how the outbreak develops. The full official notice can be read here.
Oral Proceedings are not covered by the deadline extension notice. However, hearings before the Boards of Appeal have been postponed. First instance hearings are in principle going ahead, although it is our understanding that upon request of parties to proceedings, oral proceedings in the coming weeks are being postponed in all of the EPO’s offices.
At the European Union IPO (which administers EU trade marks and designs) all time limits expiring between 9 March 2020 and 30 April 2020 inclusive that affect all parties in proceedings before the Office are extended until 1 May 2020. The full official notice can be read here.
At the UKIPO, there is no provision for the general extension of all deadlines. The office has considerable discretion to extend deadlines and it has announced that it will use its discretionary extension powers to support applicants. The most recent official notice can be read here.
All of the EPO, EUIPO and UK IPO remain open and we are able to file documents with them. Abel & Imray’s offices are continuing to function as usual and we will continue to monitor the situation at the various IP offices and will share pertinent information as and when further updates are made available.
If you have any questions about a particular deadline on one of your cases, please contact your usual Abel & Imray attorney or by contacting one of our offices.
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