Intellectual Property and COVID-19

Intellectual Property COVID-19

As the world continues to manage the outbreak of COVID-19, we look at the measures taken by our Intellectual Property Offices to tackle the practical effects the virus is having on intellectual property business:

The UK IPO

The UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) has announced that it has declared 24 March 2020, and subsequent days until further notice, as “interrupted days”. Any deadlines for patents, SPCs, trade marks and designs (and all applications for the same) which fall on an interrupted day will now be extended until the UKIPO notifies the end of the interrupted days period.

The ‘period of interruption’ has been extended until at least 28 May 2020. The move means that most deadlines for trademarks, designs, patents, and supplementary protection certification are classed as ‘interrupted days’ and so can be easily extended. However, a UKIPO representative added: “Please continue to work to existing deadlines wherever possible. Interrupted days have been introduced as a safety net where the normal course of business is not possible.”

Tim Moss, CEO of the UKIPO said: “We recognise the challenges that rights holders and businesses are facing during these testing times, so we have taken practical steps to build some flexibility into our service processes. In this way, we can honour our commitment to supporting our customers while keeping the safety of our people uppermost in our minds.”

The office has, however, requested all rights holders and IP professionals continue to file as normal where possible.

The EU IPO

The European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) has extended deadlines for time limits on procedural deadlines that occur between 1 May 2020 and 17 May 2020. The extension is until 18 May 2020, and follows the exceptional circumstances caused by the ongoing pandemic. Furthermore, executive director Christian Archambeau has also posted a video update on the current situation at the EUIPO. In it, he gives further details on the time limit extension and revealed that office output remains “at normal levels”.

As the pandemic is very fast moving, the above guidance may change at short notice. Accordingly, you should continue to check any deadlines with official sources and with your IP representative.

For further information on the impact of COVID-19 on intellectual property, please contact us.

Last updated: 12 May 2020