NEWSLETTER /// April 2020

COVID-19 Updates for EPO, EUIPO and GPTO

EPO notice regarding extension of periods

The European Patent Office has issued a notice regarding an extension of periods as a result of the effects of public measures due to the Corona virus.

  1. Periods expiring on or after 15 March 2020 are extended for all parties and the representatives to 4 May 2020. In accordance with Article 150 (2) EPC this regime will also apply for international applications under the PCT.

    Please note that this regime will not apply to any statutory periods under the EPC, e.g. it will not apply to the deadline for filing divisional applications.

  2. The EPO directs to Rule 134 (5) EPC, which offers a safeguard in the case of non-observance of the time limit resulting from a dislocation in the delivery or transmission of mail caused by an exceptional occurrence affecting the locality where an applicant, a party or their representative resides or has his place of business.

  3. In the case of the PCT, concerning time limits and conditions, applicants are referred to Rule 82quater.1 PCT allowing the excuse of delay in meeting time limits under certain conditions. Said provision applies to international applications pending in the international phase, but not to the priority period.

EUIPO extends all time limits

Due to the spread of COVID-19 across Spain, the Spanish government activated a “state of alarm” on March 14, 2020. As a result, the EUIPO, which has its seat in Alicante, Spain has published that it has extended all time limits until 1 May 2020. As the EUIPO will be closed on said date, the time limits will be shifted to 4 May 2020.

GPTO notice regarding impact of coronavirus

  1. The GPTO will take the current situation with the Coronavirus into appropriate account, in particular with regard to granting requests for the extension of time limits set by the GPTO. Irrespective of this, all deadlines set by the GPTO are extended to 4 May 2020.

  2. Statutory time limits specified by law cannot be extended by the GPTO. This applies, for example, to priority deadlines, the filing of oppositions and the payment of renewals.

  3. For cases, in which deadlines may have been missed due to impacts from the measures around the coronavirus, the GPTO draws attention to the option of re-establishment of rights and advises that the department in charge will check in the individual case whether the conditions are met.

It needs to be added that re-establishment of rights is not applicable to all time limits.

The Offices will stay operational and otherwise continue as usual. In particular, applications can still be filed, will be examined and published. The Offices will continue to issue Communications and set deadlines.

We strongly recommend that the deadlines expiring in the next few weeks be adhered to in order to avoid procedural delays and in order to avoid legal uncertainties as to in which cases the officially announced extensions apply and in which not. If you have any doubts about the time limits, please contact us and we will confirm whether they have been extended or not.


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