Update on deadlines in light of COVID-19
The coronavirus outbreak continues to cause huge challenges globally to both individuals and businesses. A number of the intellectual property offices in Europe have further revised their position with regard to deadlines:
UKIPO – The Intellectual Property Office declared 24 March 2020 and all subsequent days, until further notice, to be interrupted days. All UKIPO deadlines from 24 March onwards are therefore extended until the position is changed and normal operation resumes. This extension applies to all time periods set out in the UK Acts and Rules, and to all non-statutory deadlines set in correspondence by UKIPO staff. However, Notices of Threatened Opposition (TM7A) must still be filed within two months of the publication date of the application. The UKIPO will review the position again on 7 May 2020.
EUIPO – All deadlines have been further extended by the EUIPO. Therefore, all deadlines expiring between 9 March and 17 May are automatically extended until 18 May 2020. This extension covers all procedural deadlines, whether set in correspondence from the EUIPO or those set out in the Rules and Regulations. 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. However, where a time limit involves an IP office that is closed, and the response must be sent to that office (e.g. when responding to a notification of provisional refusal issued by the closed office), the deadline would be extended in accordance with directions issued by that closed office.
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 generally remain as set. For the Court of Justice of the EU, whilst the time limits for lodging an appeal remain, where proceedings are on-going and non-urgent, time limits are being extended by one month. By contrast, the General Court has advised that time limits continue to run and parties are required to comply with those time limits.
It is always worth checking whether a deadline has been automatically extended before expiry, and still to meet that original deadline where possible to keep matters moving.
Please do contact us if you would like further advice.