29 March 2020

COVID-19 Update


In response to the disruption caused by the Covid-19 outbreak, a number of intellectual property offices have taken steps to extend deadlines.

European Patent Office

The EPO has announced that all periods expiring on or after 15 March 2020 are extended until 17 April 2020. Further extensions may be announced if the Covid-19 outbreak continues at the end of this period. The EPO Notice is set out here. This general extension may not apply to all time limits (eg. the deadline for filing a divisional application), so please consult your usual contact before relying on this Notice.

European Union Intellectual Property Office

The EUIPO has announced that all time limits falling between 9 March 2020 and 30 April 2020 are extended until 1 May 2020. The EUIPO notice is set out here.

UK Intellectual Property Office

The UKIPO has declared 24 March, and subsequent days until further notice, to be interrupted days and any deadlines for patents, supplementary protection certificates, trade marks and designs, and applications for them, which fall on an interrupted day will be extended until further notice.

This decision applies to all statutory time periods set out in UK legislation, and to all non-statutory periods set by the UKIPO. This decision does not apply to time periods set out under the various international IP treaties, for example, the Patent Cooperation Treaty, European Patent Convention, or the Madrid system, where the UKIPO may be acting as a receiving office.

The UKIPO has said it will provide a minimum of two-weeks’ notice before ending the interrupted days period. The situation will be reviewed on 17 April 2020, at which point a decision will be made to either continue with the period of interruption or end the period after a further two weeks. In practice this means that UKIPO deadlines are extended for a minimum of five weeks. The UK IPO notice is set out here.

The German Patent and Trade Mark 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 as priority or opposition deadlines). The DPMA notice can be found here.

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

The majority of WIPO staff have been working remotely since 17 March 2020, To date however, unlike the EPO and the EUIPO, no blanket extensions of time have yet been issued by WIPO. We are expecting any further announcements relating to Covid-19 to be issued here.

Although these general extensions provide welcome flexibility, we do not intend to make routine use of these extensions but are committed to file applications, responses and other required documents within their original deadlines with our staff working from home. We do not therefore envisage any interruption to our services at this time.