EPO and EUIPO extend deadlines in response to COVID-19 pandemic
03 April 2020
As you will have seen, governments across Europe have issued a range of recommendations to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
The various IP offices have recognised this will have an impact on the ability of rightsholders/ applicants/ opponents to meet their deadlines, and so each of the UKIPO, the IP Office of Ireland, the EUIPO and the EPO have announced that deadlines will be extended:
- UKIPO – The UK IPO has issued a formal notice of an “interruption to its normal operation” due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 24th March 2020 and every subsequent day until further notice has been declared an “interrupted day”. This means that any deadlines concerning patents, supplementary protection certificates, trade marks, designs, applications for these rights, which falls on an interrupted day, will be extended to the next non-interrupted day.
The UK IPO has promised that it will give at least 2 weeks’ notice that the interrupted days period is coming to an end, and will review the situation on 17 April. This means that there is a de facto extension for all deadlines on or after 24 March, until Monday 4 May.
- IP Office of Ireland – The IPOI has announced that it will remain closed "for transaction business with the public" until at least 19 April 2020. Any days from 13 March 2020 until at least 20 April 2020 will be deemed to be "excluded days" from deadlines
- EUIPO – As we reported last week the EUIPO have said that all deadlines falling between 9 March and 30 April 2020 are extended until 1 May 2020 (in practice, 4 May 2020 as 1 May is a Friday and a public holiday in Spain)
- EPO – Also as reported last week the EPO has said that all time limits (including international applications) falling on or after 15 March 2020 are extended until 17 April 2020. On 1 April 2020, the EPO announced that it has also decided to postpone until further notice all oral proceedings in examination and opposition proceedings scheduled until 17 April 2020 unless they have already been confirmed to take place by means of videoconferencing. Oral proceedings will not be held in the premises of the Boards of Appeal until 30 April 2020. Concerned parties will be contacted accordingly with a communication