COVID-19 & IP Offices

March 19, 2020 | Karen Durell, Peter Little

Just as other sectors are reacting to the COVID-19 pandemic, so are intellectual property offices around the world (“IP Offices”). The measures that some IP Offices are enacting include providing extensions for some due dates to account for disruption caused by COVID-19.  Below are summaries of some IP Offices’ approaches to addressing issues relating to due date compliance that are potentially raised by COVID-19 in place as of March 18, 2020.

Canada

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (“CIPO”) has issued a notice that it will extend due dates under the Patent Act, Trademarks Act and Industrial Design Act (the “IP Acts”) that fall in the period of time beginning on March 16, 2020 and ending on March 31, 2020 (the “Designated Dates”). Specifically, any due date falling within the Designated Dates is extended to the next day that is: (i) not within the Designated Dates; and (ii) not a weekend or holiday (as prescribed under the relevant IP Acts). It should be noted that, if disruption caused by COVID-19 continues, the Designated Dates may be extended further.

CIPO remains open and in operation as of the date of this article. However, it is has issued a warning that significant delays to all CIPO services should be expected.

United States

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) has issued a notice confirming that USPTO deadlines for patents and trademarks are not extended. However, the USPTO will waive petition fees in certain situations for customers impacted by COVID-19.

As of the date of this article, the USPTO offices have been closed to the public. The USPTO notice confirms that internal operations are continuing without interruption.

Europe

For the region of Europe, each of the European Patent Office (“EPO”) and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (“EUIPO”) have issued notices relating to COVID-19.

EPO – The EPO is extending all due dates for patents (including Patent Cooperation Treaty international applications in some instances) falling between March 15, 2020 and April 16, 2020 (the “EPO Extension Period”) to April 17, 2020. The EPO notice further indicates that the EPO Extension Period may be extended for additional periods of time should COVID-19 cause the dislocation of movement and circulation of persons within contracting EPO states to persist beyond April 17, 2020.

The EPO has indicated that it will also allow for evidence to be submitted relating to non-observance of time limits caused by a dislocation in the delivery or transmission of mail due to COVID-19 affecting the locality where any applicant, a party, or their representative, resides or has a place of business.

EUIPO – The EUIPO issued a decision stating that all due dates for trademarks falling between March 9, 2020 and April 30, 2020 (the “EUIPO Extension Period”) are extended until May 1, 2020. The EUIPO’s website further acknowledges that as May 1, 2020 is public holiday, and the second and third days of May are weekend days, the effect of the decision is to extend due dates during the EUIPO Extension Period to May 4, 2020.

As indicated above, due to the fact that some of the extension periods now effected by IP Offices may be altered in relation to the progression of the COVID-19 pandemic, we encourage you to check back at this site for further updates.

 

Miller Thomson is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation to ensure that we provide our clients with appropriate support in this rapidly changing environment. For articles, information updates and firm developments, please visit our COVID-19 Resources page.

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