The European patent office, European Union intellectual property office, and the UK intellectual property have all made recent statements on the matter of the coronavirus COVID 19.
The following information has issued from patent offices and intellectual property offices within Europe. For the latest developments please visit to the websites of those organisations directly.
European Patent Organisation - EPO
The EPO has declared that Germany is experiencing restrictions that qualify as "a general dislocation" under Rule 134(2) EPC. As soon as the notification is published in the Official Journal, periods expiring on or after that date are extending for all parties and their representatives until 17th April 2020. This also applies to international applications filed through the EPO.
The date of 17th April 2020 may be further extended by a further Notice from the EPO.
See the EPO website for full details.
European Union Intellectual Property Office - EUIPO
The EUIPO has declared that the COVID pandemic is an "exceptional occurrence" which has disrupted proper communication worldwide. Therefore all time limits expiring between 9th March 2020 and 30th April 2020 inclusive that affect all parties in proceedings before the office are extended until 1st May 2020.
This decision takes effect on the day following the adoption of the Executive Director's Decision, which appears to have the retrospective effect back to 9th March 2020.
Please see the EUIPO website for full details.
United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office - UKIPO
So far the UKIPO is only declaring that it has "robust plans in place to maintain services" and only goes so far as to say that they will extend time periods "where national and international legislation allows”, supporting affected customers using their available discretionary powers and considering all requests for extension of time "as favourably as possible on a case by case basis".
This suggests that at present the UKIPO examiners do not yet have permission to carry out any across the board any extensions of time.
Please see the UKIPO website for full details.
Intellectual Property Office of Ireland - IPOI
Patents Rules 1992 - Rule 77 and Rule 78;
Office Closed from 13 March 2020 to 29 March 2020
Disruption arising from public health concerns and COVID 19
“In accordance with Rules 77 and 78 of the Patents Rules 1992 the Controller hereby gives notice that as and from Friday 13 March 2020 until Sunday 29 March 2020 inclusive, the Intellectual Property Office of Ireland will not be open for the transaction business with the public. Consequently, these days are deemed to be "excluded days" for all purposes under the Acts and Rules.
Rule 78 provides that whenever the last day fixed by the Act, or by these Rules, for doing any act or thing at the Office falls on any of the days on which the Office is not open to the public (which days shall be excluded days for the purposes of the Act and these Rules), it shall be lawful to do any such act or thing on the first day which is not an excluded day next following such excluded day, or days, if two or more of them occur consecutively.
The Office will continue to maintain all of its online and e-services, including e-filing of applications, electronic fee payments and enquiries by telephone and email during normal opening hours”
Please see the Intellectual Property Office of Ireland's website for full details.
Franks & Co
Franks & Co are open for business as usual and have made contingency plans to continue service from remote locations in the event that the UK government issues advice for workers not to attend their usual place of work.
Information issued March 16, 2020 - please consult individual patent offices for up-to-date information.
Article Published March 16th, 2020