The impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus) is being felt across the world and many of the Intellectual Property Offices are responding robustly to the disruption. Here we advise our clients of the measures taken by the European Patent Office (EPO), UK Intellectual Property Office (UK IPO) and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).

The EPO’s advice can be found here, and provides information relating to postponing of Oral Proceedings which were scheduled to take place before 17 April 2020 and providing an extension of time for present deadlines to 17 April 2020. The EPO has also defined certain ‘high risk areas’ where special provisions will operate for extensions.

The UK IPO guidance can be found here. At present, the UK IPO has not implemented any type of automatic extension to deadlines, but has said that discretionary extensions based on reasons relating to coronavirus will be looked at favourably. As such, we advise documenting any actual and specific disruption caused by coronavirus that led to the delay in meeting the deadline, which can be provided as supporting evidence when requesting an extension of time.

The EUIPO has issued an Order (see here) under Article 101(4) of the EU Trade Mark Regulation and Article 100 of the Community Designs Regulation applying an automatic extension to 1 May 2020 of all deadlines expiring between 9 March 2020 and 30 April 2020.

Avidity’s general advice on EPO and UK IPO deadlines is that if ‘discretion’ of the Patent Office needs to be relied upon to obtain an extension of time, then consideration should be given to providing evidence of and reasons as to why the deadline could not be met.

For further advice and guidance on any of the above matters or any other deadlines that may be of concern, please contact our Attorneys who will be able to guide you through this difficult time.