Covid-19 IP Update: Intellectual Property Office developments

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EUIPO

For those with European Union Trademarks (EUTMs), the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) in Alicante, Spain remains open although all staff are now working from home and it has extended all deadlines falling between 9 March 2020 and 30 April 2020 to 1 May 2020.

EPO

The EPO has said that oral proceedings will continue but may be held by videoconference. On 15 March, the EPO also announced that all deadlines are extended.

USPTO

The US Patent and Trademark Office has said it will no longer hold face-to-face meetings until further notice, including Patent Trial and Appeal Board hearings, but will continue with phone and videoconferences.

Italy

A few days ago, the Italian government needed to adopt a number of extraordinary measures to contain the spread of COVID-19.

In light of the spread and impact of COVID-19 around the world, the Italian Patent and Trademark Office issued a Decree providing for a stay of all official deadlines falling within 9 March and 3 April 2020. The stay concerns all deadlines involving any activity with the Italian Patent and Trademark Office, with exception of mandatory deadlines in opposition proceedings (i.e. the deadline to bring opposition, to file the PoA to commence the action and the relevant supporting arguments), as well as the mandatory deadlines to bring action before the Office Board of Appeal.

Many of the officers of the Italian Patent and Trademark Office are also working from remote to ensure the functionality of the system. Given that the majority of activities may be carried out online, we do not expect significant impact on IP matters.

UK

The UK Intellectual Property Office is currently operating as normal. However, it has said that it will extend deadlines where national and international legislation allows. It has also said that where a deadline has been missed, resulting in a loss of rights, they may be able to restore or reinstate the right depending on the circumstances. If you have registered IP rights which could be affected, you might want to consider keeping records of how the virus has affected your business and what you did and didn't do to mitigate loss, so you can demonstrate why the IPO's discretion should be exercised in your favour, if needed.

How we can help

For further advice and insights to help your business respond to the legal and contractual challenges coronavirus presents, please visit our COVID-19 Topic Centre.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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