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EPO and EUIPO – COVID-19 Update

EPO and EUIPO – COVID-19 Update

16/03/20

In view of the fast-developing situation regarding the outbreak and spread of COVID-19 across Europe, both the European Patent Office (EPO) and European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) have adopted a number of measures to account for business disruption.

European Patent Office

The EPO announced yesterday that all periods expiring on or after the publication of their Notice will be automatically extended until 17 April 2020. Although it is not immediately clear, confirmation has been forthcoming from the EPO that the “publication” applies to the online publication of the Notice (on 15 March 2020), and not the future publication in the Official Journal.

With regard to Oral Proceedings at the EPO, in principle these will take place as scheduled, although this will most likely take place via video conference. As an exception, Oral Proceedings will not be held at the EPO Boards of Appeal premises from 16 March 2020 to 27 March 2020, and all parties concerned will be contacted accordingly by the EPO.

The latest COVID-19 updates from the EPO can be found on their website.

 European Union Intellectual Property Office

On 16 March 2020 the EUIPO issued two updates: one in relation to the extension of deadlines and one in relation to business continuity.

Following the characterisation of COVID-19 as a pandemic by WHO, the EUIPO confirmed that all time limits expiring between 9 March 2020 and 30 April 2020, affecting any party before the Office, are extended to 1 May 2020.

Following the implementation of state of emergency measures in Spain, the EUIPO confirmed that its entire staff will be working from home but business will continue as usual, meaning that trade mark and design applications will continue to be received, examined and published, and the Office will continue to send communications and set deadlines. EUIPO’s customer service will also continue by phone and email, while the Alicante headquarters will remain closed until further notice.

The EUIPO will publish regular updates on their website during this period.

Due to the fluidity of the situation, we expect that there will be frequent updates to EPO and EUIPO procedures over the coming weeks. We will endeavour to keep all clients up to date regarding any further developments.

If you have any specific queries or concerns, please contact your usual WP Thompson advisor, or email us on london@wpt.co.uk or liverpool@wpt.co.uk.