The coronavirus seems to be exerting itself upon all phases of life, and your intellectual property is not immune. While you, your families, your friends, and your colleagues are getting comfortable with the new normal of social-distancing, intellectual property (IP) offices worldwide have also been grappling with how to handle the impact of coronavirus (also referred to as COVID-19).
Responses from IP offices around the world are varied and evolving, as the landscape changes in each individual country and on a global scale. For example, some offices, such as the European Patent Office (EPO), India, and the United Kingdom, have automatically extended deadlines, while others have refrained from any extensions but permit, under certain circumstances, remedial action for rights lost due to effects of the coronavirus. While the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has not provided for automatic extensions, certain deadlines associated with patent and trademark filings and fees will be extended for 30 days provided the delay in filing or payment was due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Additionally, the USPTO will waive the petition fee to revive certain lost rights resulting from a failure to take action due to effects of the coronavirus.
The chart provides the impact of coronavirus on patent and trademark proceedings at several IP offices worldwide as of March 30, 2020. Given the evolving nature of the situation, we expect further guidelines and notices from IP offices in the coming days and weeks. We are monitoring the situation and intend to provide further updates as information unfolds. If there is a question as to whether or how coronavirus may impact your IP rights, we recommend reaching out to a trusted lawyer to ensure that all IP rights are properly maintained and to determine if any action is required where ability to meet an official deadline may be called into question due to coronavirus.