COVID-19 : The response of Intellectual Property Offices

COVID-19 : The response of Intellectual Property Offices

As the coronavirus epidemic sweeps across the World, the Intellectual Property Offices (IPOs) of different countries have been quick to respond and support clients:

The UK IPO has issued a notice stating that 24 March 2020 and the subsequent period are “interrupted days”. This means that any deadlines for trade marks, designs and patents will be extended automatically (i.e. without the need for an extension request) during the period of interruption.

Whilst it was stated that the earliest this period of interruption was due to finish was to be 1 May, it was also said that the period would only be lifted with two weeks’ notice, so, at the time of writing, this would take us up to at least 10 May.

  • The European Patent Office (EPO) has extended all deadlines expiring on or after 15 March 2020 to 1 May 2020. They state that if the disruption continues beyond 4 May 2020, a further message may be issued. In the light of continuing disruption, further extensions are therefore expected. This extension affects all deadlines relating to European patent applications and international Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) applications handled by the EPO.
  • The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), which deals with European trade mark applications and European design registrations has taken a similar measure. The executive of the EUIPO announced on 16 March 2020 that they would be extending all time limits expiring between 9 March 2020 and 30 April 2020 that affect all parties before the office to 1 May 2020, which, because of the public holiday, extends things to 4 May 2020. As above, further deadline extensions are expected.
  • The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has, as of 27 April, not granted waivers or extensions of dates at all. It has, however, provided a straightforward means of citing COVID-19 as a reason for not missing a deadline. It is understood that this special dispensation will be applied liberally.

If you wish to know anything further about other IPOs, please do get in touch and we will be happy to investigate. In more general terms, it is usually the case that extensions can be applied for, or in the case that deadlines are missed, restoration may possibly be sought. It is always a good idea to get in touch with us in order to pre-plan.

For a no-obligation phone call to discuss how we can assist you and your business, please contact me on 01206 217600 or email me

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.