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Patent offices respond to COVID-19

| Posted on: 7 April, 2020
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National patent offices, where patent applications are filed and granted, are implementing measures to reflect the rapid changes to the business environment. Recognising that timelines may be affected by these workplace shifts some allowances have been introduced.  Here KTI shares an overview of some of those extensions.  As the situation is ever-changing, we recommend that those affected visit individual office websites to confirm updates or make contact as directed. 

Intellectual Property Office of Ireland

The IPOI has announced it will remain closed from 13th March until Sunday 19th April 2020 for the transaction of business with the public.  Consequently, these days are deemed to be “excluded days” for all purposed under the Acts and Rules.

Following the Government announcement on 27th March 2020 of further measures aimed at controlling the spread of Covid 19 virus, IPOI staff working remotely will continue to maintain all of its online and e-services including e-filing of applications, electronic fee payments and email enquiries during normal working hours until further notice.  However IPOI staff will not be able to deal with telephone enquiries. For more information visit the IPOI website.

European Patents Office

The EPO is the patent office for Europe. The EPO has advised all time limits expiring on or after 15 March 2020 have been extended to 17 April 2020.  Further information on this an other implications of COVID-19 can be found on the EPO’s dedicated page relating to Coronavirus updates.

European Intellectual Property Office

The EUIPO is the European Union Intellectual Property Office responsible for managing the EU trademark and the registered Community design. The EUIPO has issued a statement extending all time limits to 1 May 2020. In practice this means time limits are extended until Monday 4th May as Friday 1st May is a public holiday.  Full details on the nature of this extension can be accessed here where any further updates are also likely to be announced.

 UK Intellectual Property Office

The UK IPO has declared 24 March, and subsequent days until further notice, interrupted days. This means that any deadlines for patents, supplementary protection certificates, trade marks, designs, and applications for these rights, which fall on an interrupted day will be extended until the IPO notifies the end of the interrupted days period. To support rights holders, businesses and IP professionals plan ahead the UK IPO will provide a minimum of 2 weeks’ notice before ending the interrupted days period. The latest news can be found here.

United States Patent and Trademark Office

The USPTO has announced extensions to the time allowed to file certain patent and trademark-related documents and to pay certain required fees. The details for patents and trademarks are quite detailed and more information is available here.

WIPO World Intellectual Property Organisation

WIPO has announced some lee way in relation to international trademark matters although extensions will not be granted automatically as is the case in other offices.  Rather WIPO users must provide sufficient evidence to excuse the delay.  On April 7, WIPO Director General  will deliver a public broadcase which will include some information on the management of Covid-19 and its impact on WIPO services and programs. For more detail visit the WIPO website.