Expert Insights

Expert Insights

Intellectual Property update: COVID-19


The coronavirus outbreak has brought huge challenges globally to both individuals and businesses.  Whilst businesses carry on as best they can in these difficult times, there are different strategies being deployed by intellectual property offices for dealing with deadlines including:

UKIPO – requests for extensions of time will be considered “as favourably as possible on a case-by-case basis” and where national and international legislation allows.

EUIPO – all deadlines falling between 9 March and 30 April before the EUIPO have automatically been extended until 1 May 2020. As this is not a working day, deadlines effectively roll to 4 May 2020. This does not apply to deadlines to further appeal Board of Appeal decisions to the General Court, which remain as originally set.

WIPO – 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.

Trade mark applications

The pandemic has already spurred a number of filings for trade marks related to COVID-19.

Looking at the digital healthcare industry, Nepesmo Ltd has applied to register the word ‘RemoteCovid’ as a trade mark in the UK. Nepesmo is a company that uses AI-driven self-monitoring to predict and prevent lung attacks. Information about what exactly RemoteCovid may be is not publicly available yet, but Nepesmo’s products use technology such as mobile apps and internet portals to permit patients and their clinicians to monitor their health conditions. Coronavirus is a respiratory disease which would therefore be considered as a lung attack, which may be why it is being considered by Nepesmo. The application was published on 16 March 2020 and the window to oppose it closes on 16 June 2020.

Elsewhere, a sole trader based in Italy, Francesco Pratesi, perhaps in an optimistic spirit, has registered the word ‘COVID-19 SURVIVOR’ in the Benelux. Mr Pratesi supplies retailers in Italy, Europe and the Far East and has registered the mark in Class 25 which covers baseball hats, beanie hats, skiing hats, fashion hats, t-shirts and messages on t-shirts, suggesting that once the virus has passed he hopes to put the mark on clothing products which proud COVID-19 survivors will be able to wear. Although the mark has been registered, the window to oppose it remains open until 25 April 2020 and appears to have already survived one unsuccessful attempt to oppose it.

It goes without saying that these are unprecedented and strange times. However, we are continuing our business as usual, and if you or your business have any intellectual property needs or queries, our team are on hand to assist.

You can find out more on this by listening to our podcast here.

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