Updated: 31 March 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic remains a challenging time for everyone. We want to reassure you that we are here to support your business as best we can. You can contact us by telephone on 0131 557 6450 or complete an Online Enquiry and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Have any questions or concerns? Please find information relevant to you and your business in our COVID-19 FAQs below.
I want to arrange a notary or legalisation appointment during the coronavirus lockdown. Can I still book one?
Yes, you can book a notary or legalisation appointment. Appointments will take place online in compliance with current coronavirus Government and Law Society of Scotland guidance.
Please note that every country has their own requirements which can change without us being notified, therefore we cannot advise you as to which documents you may need to be legalised. You will need to contact the relevant overseas authorities directly to confirm what documentation they want presented to them and which may need to be legalised.
I haven’t heard about my trade mark application. What should I do?
While it is taking longer than usual to examine trade mark applications, the IPO’s Newport office at Concept House remains open. Applications are generally taking about 30 working days to be examined. However, we will write to you as soon as there is any update about the progress of your application.
As a new business, what financial support is available?
The UK Intellectual Property Office has announced the end of its temporary fee changes from 31 March 2021. The changes have been in place since 30 July 2020 to help users affected by the pandemic. Some of the fees impacted include the current £1 surcharge for late payment of a trade mark renewal (it will rise to the usual £50), the zero fee for reinstatement and restoration of registrations, and the zero fee for extensions of time. While fees will return to the pre-pandemic costs, the UKIPO pledges that it will “try to support those applicants who have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic”.
Scottish Enterprise offers various sources of grants and funding for start-ups and small businesses, as well as advice.
Your business may also qualify for R&D tax relief or Patent Box, a lower rate of Corporation Tax for profits earned from your patented inventions.
I have received an application invoice. I don’t have any money now, so can I pay it next month?
Whether it is Covid-related or otherwise, we are definitely seeing an increase in the number of attempted frauds and scams. Please be aware that there are a number of unscrupulous organisations sending fake ‘invoices’ to intellectual property applicants. The following are the ONLY offices that provide legal protection for designs, patents and trade marks in the UK:
- The Intellectual Property Office (IPO)
- The European Patent Office (EPO)
- European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO)
- The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
We strongly advise not to pay any organisation without first checking with us.
What can I do to combat the increase in copycats due to the pandemic?
The pandemic has led to a spike in counterfeit goods such as face masks, disinfectants, pharmaceuticals and fake Covid-19 tests. Given the clear health dangers to consumers, brand owners should review their intellectual property protection strategies and take immediate action to remove counterfeit goods from the market.
We have also noticed a rise in the number of abusive domain names, selling genuine or counterfeit goods and services. In addition to the reputational risk, such domain names will likely have a negative economic impact on your business and should be removed as soon as possible.
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This article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. It should not be used as a substitute for legal advice relating to your particular circumstances. Please note that the law may have changed since the date of this article.
Updated: 31 March 2021