What will happen to patent, trade mark and design registration applications that are currently being processed or which I want to file?
In recognition of the problems that the current situation is causing, the UK IPO classed the 24th March and all subsequent days as “interrupted days” which means that deadlines that fall within this period will be extended until the UK IPO declares that the interrupted days have ceased. As lockdown has begun to be eased, the IPO has now reviewed its position and has confirmed that the “interrupted days” period will come to an end on the 29 July 2020. This means that Thursday 30 July 2020 will be the first normal day of operation, therefore all “interrupted days” deadlines will expire on this day. Similarly, if your deadline falls after the period of interruption ends, this deadline will not be automatically extended.
The IPO is conscious that many businesses may still be in challenging positions when the period of “interrupted days” end. They will endeavour to continue to provide flexibility and support to assist businesses with their applications. They hope to temporarily remove fees for requests for extensions of deadlines, and will give further updates when this fee exemption is in place.
The IPO continues to encourage applicants to meet original deadlines where they are able. As their offices are closed, the UK IPO is not currently processing paper forms (i.e. hard copy) and faxes. However, they are processing forms which have been submitted electronically, or via email and have made a new email address available for the submission of forms.
Intellectual Property Offices covering other territories have made their own announcements about the extension of deadlines. The EUIPO’s period of extension of deadlines came to an end on the 18th May. However, they have published a Guidance Note and accompanying webinar on the EUIPO website, detailing options for parties who may struggle to meet deadlines and remedies for those who may have missed deadlines.