As a response to the new coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak, intellectual property offices in Europe have implemented special measures to offer some level of flexibility to rights holders whilst Europe is working under new and uncertain conditions. Full details of these measures can be found below. Whilst this flexibility is welcomed we are not intending to make use of these provisions but will continue to work to the original deadlines.
Coronavirus (Covid-19) client update
In view of the spread of the new coronavirus disease, Covid-19, in the UK and Germany, we have implemented a number of measures to ensure that our staff are safe and well and that we maintain our high levels of client service.
European Patent Office (EPO)
Most deadlines expiring on or after 15 March 2020 are extended until 17 April 2020 with the possibility of further extensions, dependent upon circumstances at the end of this period.
The EPO has postponed, until further notice, all oral proceedings in examination and opposition proceedings, scheduled to take place up to and including 27 March 2020, unless they have already been confirmed to take place by means of videoconferencing. During this time the EPO will explore options for the further use of videoconferencing in oral proceedings.
The Boards of Appeal have also cancelled all hearings until 27 March 2020 and our experience is that they have started to cancel hearings in the following weeks as well. At present there are no provisions for the Boards of Appeal to hold hearings by videoconference. Future announcements are likely to be found here (EPO Covid-19) - continually updated information) and here (EPO Boards of Appeal).
European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO)
All time limits falling between 09 March 2020 and 30 April 2020 (inclusive) are extended until 01 May 2020 (in practice 04 May 2020). As a consequence, periods to file a notice of opposition, cancellation and appeal will also be extended. All staff at the EUIPO have been working at home since 16 March with the intention that it will be business as usual. Further information can be found here (EUIPO Covid-19 extension of time limits).
UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO)
At the moment the UKIPO is not routinely extending deadlines. They do, however, plan to support applicants and attorneys who may have been affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. Further information can be found here (UKIPO latest documents).
The German Trade Mark and Patent Office (DPMA)
All current time limits set by the DPMA are automatically extended until 04 May 2020. There will not be any notifications about the amended deadline expiry dates. This does not apply to deadlines set by the law (such a priority or opposition deadlines). The DPMA has a dedicated page for Covid-19 updates found here (DPMA Covid-19 news).
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
There have been no announcements relating to the extension of deadlines. Since 17 March 2020, the majority of staff have been working remotely. We are expecting further announcements relating to Covid-19 to be issued here (WIPO press room).