Worldwide IP offices

Like all organisations, intellectual property offices have had to make changes to the way they operate at the current time to limit the spread of Covid-19. Here, you will find the key changes you need to be aware of.

IPO Update
Australia

All Future hearings will be conducted by video conference, telephone or written submission. Where an applicant cannot carry out an action within time due to the COVID-19 outbreak an extension of time may be available. Requests for extensions of time will need to be made in the normal way, accompanied where required by a declaration setting out how the COVID-19 outbreak interfered with responding in time. Requests for waiver or refund of the fee for the extension of time will be considered on a case by case basis as per our current practice.

Communication

Benelux 

From 16 March 2020, the BOIP will not withdraw any requests or procedures because a given deadline has not been met. Based on the experience and national developments in the coming period, the BOIP will determine a date on which normal work can be resumed in due course (so-called “BAU-Date”). For all requests and proceedings for which time limits have expired between 16 March 2020 and the BAU-Date, or time limits within one month from the BAU-Date, will be granted an additional period of one month. This month will be calculated from the BAU-Date. The BOIP acknowledges that the information in the online register may not be accurate. It can be that the register erroneously mentions registered status of a mark, while the opposition deadline may actually be extended. The BOIP underlines that this communication does not have consequences for actions at the Benelux Court of Justice, including the deadlines for appeal against decisions from the BOIP.

Communication

Brazil

The BPTO - Brazilian Patent and Trademark Office – have extended the suspension of official deadlines until 30 April 2020. Face-to-face meetings with the BPTO’s examiners and employees are also suspended, and any questions and/or clarifications must be submitted electronically. As for pending lawsuits, the procedural deadlines are suspended until 30 April 2020. Despite the suspension of procedural deadlines, Courts across the country remain working during forensic hours, remotely. Thus, lawyers can continue to submit requests and appeals directly through the respective electronic systems of each Court.

Local Agent (Kasznar Leonardos) update

Brunei

Existing deadlines continue to apply.

Communication

Canada

The CIPO's has extended deadlines falling within 16 March 2020 to 15 May 2020 to 19 May 2020. For deadlines falling after 1 May, the Registrar will consider the disruption caused by COVID-19 a sufficient circumstance to obtain an extension of time.

Communication

China

Generally, deadlines can be suspended starting from the day of the 'appearance of an obstacle' (e.g. local epidemic control restrictions) and resume after the day of the 'elimination of an obstacle' (e.g. after the epidemic control restrictions have been lifted). The Notice also specifies that applicants missing a deadline because of epidemic control measures, leading to the expiry of an IP right, can invoke force majeure, and can apply for a reinstatement of such lapsed right, within 2 months from the time the epidemic control measures are lifted. From 27 March 2020, the abovementioned measures are now extended to right holders located in countries and regions also affected by the pandemic. Therefore, foreign applicants can also request extensions of deadlines or reinstatement of lapsed IP rights, provided they can submit the relevant evidence.

Communication and Communication

Cuba

All deadlines for IP procedures that were due to expire in the period from 27 March to 4 May have been suspended. It is understood that the new deadline resumes from 5 May 2020.

Communication

Czech Republic No communication from the IPO. 
Finland

Trade Marks and Designs:Deadlines for filing materials, statement or for correcting deficiencies cannot be extended, however, the Finnish IPO office will take into account the exceptional situation caused by the coronavirus when considering deadline extensions, however clients are required to pay an extension fee for each extension request. Absolute deadlines for renewing trademarks or for submitting oppositions against registered trademarks, cannot be extended.

Patents: The deadlines for responding to an office action or for filing statements are set out in the Patent Regulations and Utility Model Regulations. The IPO can, at the request of the applicant, extend the deadline for special reasons. If you cannot meet the deadline because of the coronavirus, this can be considered as a special reason. The request, together with a statement of reasons, must be filed before the deadline the request concerns expires. Deadlines concerning due dates of annual fees, priority year, or validation of European patents in Finland, cannot be extended.

Communication and Communication

France

The INPI is bringing the deadlines set out in the procedures relating to patents, trademarks and designs to 4 months from 19 March 2020 (19 July 2020), with the exception of the deadlines for the opposition to trademark registration.

Communication

Germany

With regard to all pending IP procedures, time limits granted by the German Patent and Trade Mark Office are extended, and no decision will be made because of the expiration of any time limit, until 4 May 2020. The IPO has commented that all requests for an extension of a deadline are likely to be granted. However, the German Patent and Trade Mark Office cannot extend time limits specified by law.

Honduras

The extension of the quarantine measures, including a general lockdown has been announced through at least 3 May 2020.

The Patent and Trademark Office of Honduras continues closed. Please note that all deadlines falling due during the lockdown period will be extended to the next business day, whenever it occurs.

Agency Update

Hungary

Filings: Primary electronic filing system and post shall be used. There is an automatic docketing machine available 24/7 in the central building of the HIPO. No personal filings are possible.

Personal consultations with examiners: The personal consultations are suspended as of 16 March for an indefinite period. Examiners can be reached via phone and e-mail.

Communication

India

India’s Office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks has stated that ‘’the applicant can file request for extension of time (now or after situation becomes normal) and such request will be considered by the Registrar in accordance to law’’. The Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks (CGPDTM) announced that all the offices under the administrative control of the office of the CGPDTM shall not be physically accessible to the public (in person) till 3 May 2020 and therefore the relaxation of deadlines notified in the earlier Public Notice dated March 25, 2020 shall also be extended accordingly till 4 May 2020. All hearings scheduled to take place up to 3 May 2020 stand adjourned and will be rescheduled for a later date.

Communication and Communication

Ireland

The Intellectual Property Office of Ireland will remain closed from 13 March 2020 until 19 April 2020, for transaction business with the public. Consequently, these days are deemed to be "excluded days" for all purposes under the Acts and Rules. The Irish IP Office (IPOI) has confirmed that its office closure has been extended until 5 May 2020 following public health concerns from the covid-19 outbreak.

Communication

Israel

Generally, it was announced that failure to meet deadlines in view of the current pandemic, may be regarded as a reasonable excuse for missing deadlines. A request for extension needs, however, to be accompanied by an explanation of the circumstances and if these will be related to the current outbreak, the request will be treated favourably. Missing a deadline before 1 May 2020 (for example, the last date to file a response of an office action), will not cause the files to be closed by the ILPO. This does not include renewal deadlines and deadlines for filing an opposition.

Communication

Italy

Deadlines falling within the entire period running from 9 March 2020 to 3 April 2020 are suspended and will start to run again on 15 May 2020 unless an additional extension is provided in the meanwhile. The validity of intellectual property rights expiring on 23 February 2020 or later is extended until 15 June 2020. Therefore, annuity payments and/or requests for renewals concerning patents, trademarks or designs that unless renewed would expire during the period between 23 February and 15 May 2020 must be finalised by 30 June 2020. The suspension does NOT apply to:

  • Deadlines relating to trademark opposition proceedings (deadlines for the filing of the oppositions, of the power of attorney by the opponent and of arguments and evidence in support of the opposition
  • Deadlines for appeals against decisions of the Italian Patent and Trademark Office

Communication and Communication

Korea

The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) recently extended designated deadlines falling in the period between 31 March – April 29, 2020 to 30 April 2020 in response to the Covid 19 pandemic. KIPO has announced that it is exercising its ex officio authority to further extend the period for document submissions. As such, designated deadlines falling in the period between 30 April – 30 May 2020 will now be extended to 31 May 2020. This means that the deadlines which have already been extended to April 30, 2020 will now be further extended to May 31, 2020. These ex officio extensions are not applicable to the statutory periods prescribed by patent/utility model/design/trademark laws or treaties, such as the 31-month time limit for a PCT national phase entry in Korea, the deadline for requesting a substantive examination for patent applications, the deadline for responding to a final rejection, etc.

Laos

All government offices deemed nonessential, including the Department of Intellectual Property, are closed. The lockdown has now been extended to 3 May 2020.

Communication

Malaysia

Different deadlines will be extended by different periods. The deadlines for office’s letter including appeals, oppositions and payments has been extended until 1 June 2020. The renewal of Patent / Utility Innovation that falls due between 18 March 2020 and 31 May 2020 has been extended until 1 Jun 2020. The renewal of Trade Marks between 27 December and 31 May 2020 has ben extended until 1 June 2020.

Communication

Mexico

The Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) and the Federal Courts have issued a suspension agreement by which all activities and legal terms and suspended until 30 April 2020. All due dates during this period will be further extended until 4 May 2020.

Communication

New Zealand

If circumstances related to COVID-19 have affected the applicant’s ability to respond by a deadline, we may apply for an extension of time. Such requests will be treated favorably by IPONZ.

IPONZ may change the due dates for a number of cases and tasks in acknowledgement of the disruption caused by COVID-19. These include the following:

  • Deadlines to respond to patent examination reports(for both Patents Act 1953 cases and Patents Act 2013 cases)
  • Deadlines to request examination for patent applications
  • Section 71 deadlines for patent applications
  • Deadlines to respond to design examination reports
  • Deadlines to respond to trade mark compliance reports (national trade mark applications only)
  • Deadlines to file evidence for proceeding cases.

If a due date for a case has been moved, a case-specific notification will be provided to the primary contact via the IPONZ online system.

Communication 

Poland

Various IP actions are suspended. The filing of an objection, or submitting to the Patent Office of the Republic of Poland a translation of the European patent into Polish, as well as a deadline for submitting a Polish translation of a limited or amended European patent, with a deadline from 8 March 2020 to 30 June 2020 is now suspended until 1 July 2020. Furthermore, all court proceedings, administrative proceedings, hearings and public meetings will not be conducted for the foreseeable future.

Communication

Portugal

INPI's procedural and procedural deadlines have been suspended, as well as the limitation and expiry periods related to all types of processes and procedures, until further notice. The office is encouraging users to act within a deadline period because the INPI wants to continue the processing of work.

Communication

Puerto Rico

All deadlines in the Puerto Rico Trademark Office have been extended until 15 May 2020.

Qatar

All official deadlines due as of 13 March 2020 have been extended and submission of documents required to complete new filings, oppositions, responding to office actions’ can be filed after the force majeure resulting from the COVID 19 pandemic is over without penalties but such measures are not applicable to annuities, examination and grant fees for patents or trademark renewals as those actions can be implemented currently. Other services like recordals of assignment/change of name and address/license, obtaining of certified copy of registration certificates/excerpt of trademarks are temporarily suspended until further notice.

Russia

30 March 2020 to 30 April 2020, have been officially declared as non-working days. The Civil Code of the Russian Federation states; if the deadline for the performance of an action, including that related to the payment of a duty, falls on the specified period, it will be considered complied with if such an action is performed on the next business day. Therefore, all deadlines falling within this time period will automatically be extended to 12 May 2020.

Communication

Singapore

All filing deadlines between 7 April 2020 to 4 June 2020 extended to 5 June 2020. 

This extended deadline also applies to cases under IPOS’ Hearings and Mediation Department. The period of priority for manual filings will be extended to 5 June where the final day of the priority claim period falls within 7 April 2020 to 4 June 2020. The deadlines highlighted are automatically extended and applicants need not file any deadline extension requests.

Communication

Slovakia No communication from the IPO.
South Africa

The CIPC will be closed to the public from 25 March 2020 until 30 April 2020, and any responses to official communications from CIPC will be extended to fall due on 1 May 2020.

Communication

Spain

Due to the state of emergency in Spain, all deadlines in administrative proceedings have been suspended until the state of emergency has been lifted.

Communication

Switzerland

The Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property has issued a general extension of all terms for all procedures falling between 21 March to 19 April, until 20 April 2020. Accordingly, the IPO states: For requests for an extension of a time limit, we will exercise our discretionary powers within the framework of national and international law. For all procedures, we will now grant an extension of two months for the first and second extension of the time limit. If important reasons are presented, we will grant a third extension of an appropriate duration, without the agreement of any opposing party.

Communication

Turkey

The Turkish Patent and Trademark Office has announced that all deadlines expiring between March 13, 2020, and April 30, 2020, have been suspended. All deadlines falling within the suspended period will be extended to 1 May 2020. This suspension includes all procedural deadlines from payment of any official fees for obtaining or maintaining any IP rights to filing responses to office actions and from submission of oppositions and appeals to submission of evidences to prove use of opponent’s marks and claiming priority.

United States of America

The due date for any of the proceedings listed (in the link) that were due at the USPTO between, and inclusive of, both 27 March 2020 and 30 April 2020, will be extended 30 days from the initial date it was due, provided that the filing is accompanied by a statement that the delay in filing or payment was due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Communication