Update: COVID-19 and Intellectual Property
The outbreak of COVID-19 has already vastly affected businesses across the globe. It is likely that it will continue to do so for the near future (at least), and a large number of companies are being forced to take a different course to what they may have envisaged.
Intellectual Property Offices have acknowledged that businesses are less likely to be in a position to meet deadlines. As a result, they have been either extended or relaxed across all areas of intellectual property. For example:
The UKIPO declared a status of ‘interrupted days’ commencing on 24 March 2020, which meant that deadlines falling on an ‘interrupted day’ will be extended to the next non-interrupted day.
This period has been in constant review, and on 22 June it was announced that the period of ‘interrupted days’ would cease on 29 July 2020. Deadlines previously extended therefore will be due on Thursday 30 July 2020.
The UKIPO have warned that they are operating on a slower basis than usual, with original documents taking longer to process and send out. They are currently advising customers to use alternatives to post.
Similarly, the EUIPO were reviewing and bringing updates bi-weekly in relation to the deadline extensions they were granting. On 15 May, they announced that their official deadline extensions were coming to an end on 18 May 2020. The EUIPO has been operating on a normal basis since, however, they admitted that there was a significant backlog for trade mark publications which they are currently working through. Short delays are expected for the application process.
Deadlines remain as originally set but there are steps that can be taken if deadlines are missed. Evidence for the reason why the deadline was missed may be required.
Other national offices in the EU have varying procedures. In relation to courts, in England, along with both the General Court and Court of Justice of the EU, the deadlines currently remain as set.
WIPO are still working on a purely electronic basis, and are accepting no paper documents and notifications.
For further information on any of the items mentioned in this article, please contact any member of the IP team.