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EPO and EUIPO extend deadlines in response to COVID-19 pandemic

26 March 2020

As you will have seen, governments across Europe have issued a range of recommendations to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The various IP offices have recognised this will have an impact on the ability of rightsholders/ applicants/ opponents to meet their deadlines, and so each of the UKIPO, the IP Office of Ireland, the EUIPO and the EPO have announced that deadlines will be extended:

  • UKIPO – deadlines are not extended automatically, but will be extended at the UKIPO’s discretion and where national and international legislation allows. Requests for extensions will be “considered as favourably as possible”. It may be sensible to keep records of where and how your business has been affected by the coronavirus, to show why an extension is needed;
  • IP Office of Ireland – the IPOI is closed from 13 March until 29 March 2020 (inclusive). Any deadlines falling within that time will be extended to 30 March 2020;
  • EUIPO – all deadlines falling between 9 March and 30 April 2020 are extended until 1 May 2020 (in practice, 4 May 2020 as 1 May is a Friday and a public holiday in Spain);
  • EPO – all deadlines (including international applications) falling on or after 15 March 2020 are extended until 17 April 2020.

WIPO has said it has put in place remote working systems so it can continue processing applications filed through the PCT, Madrid System and Hague System and administer other IP and related systems (such as the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Centre).
 
This is a fast-moving area. Specialist teams from across our firm have contributed to the Lewis Silkin COVID-19 hub. Here you will find a lot of information, advice and commentary, all of which is updated regularly. If and when the above deadlines/guidance change, we will provide an update on our hub.
 
We are here to provide answers to your questions, to act as a sounding board for the decisions you’re planning to make and to help you make the key decisions that will protect your business in these uncertain.
 
Please get in touch if we can help in any way.

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