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At the best of times, it can be both challenging and time-consuming to have your intellectual property, like a patent or trade mark registered. If you do not meet key deadlines, some of which are critical and require an investment in time and money, you can face significant consequences. 

To avoid this, you need to demonstrate to the relevant patent office that:

  • the deadline was missed due to exceptional circumstances beyond your control; and
  • that it was always your intention to meet the deadline.

Even if you do satisfy these criteria, you are not guaranteed that you will be protected from costly extension fees or granted an extension.

But what if your critical intellectual property (IP) deadlines arise during uncertain times? What options do you have if you miss a deadline due to circumstances related to COVID-19?

Extensions and Exceptional Circumstances

Thankfully, numerous Intellectual Property Offices have taken action to make sure that your intellectual property rights may remain safe in the event you cannot meet a deadline due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The tables below summarise the responses from some of the major Intellectual Property Offices around the world. 

Patents

CountryResponse

Australia

  • Extensions of time for some deadlines are available for those affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

New Zealand

  • Extensions of time for some deadlines are available for those affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

United States

  • Extensions of time for some deadlines are available for those affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Original handwritten signatures are no longer required for certain correspondence.
  • In certain instances, petition fees for extensions are waived for those affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • All USPTO offices will be closed to the public.
  • Oral hearings, and other similar in-person meetings with parties and stakeholders scheduled to take place at USPTO will be conducted remotely by video or telephone.

Europe

  • Some deadlines expiring on or after 15 March 2020 are extended until 17 April 2020 with the possibility of further extensions, dependent upon circumstances at the end of this period.
  • Oral proceedings in examination and opposition proceedings are postponed until 17 April 2020 and will likely proceed as video conferences thereafter.

United Kingdom

  • Extensions of time for some deadlines and considerations for loss of rights are available for those affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Canada

  • Most deadlines between March 16, 2020 and March 31, 2020 are being provided with an extension of time to April 1, 2020.

India

  • Extensions of time for some deadlines are available for those affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • All in-person hearings will be conducted by video conference or adjourned to a later date.

 Trade Marks

CountryResponse

Australia

  • Extensions of time for some deadlines are available for those affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

New Zealand

  • Extensions of time for some deadlines are available for those affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

China

  • Extensions of time for some deadlines are available for those affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

United States

  • Extensions of time for some deadlines are available for those affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Original handwritten signatures are no longer required for certain correspondence.
  • In certain instances, petition fees are waived for those affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • All USPTO offices will be closed to the public.
  • Oral hearings, and other similar in-person meetings with parties and stakeholders scheduled to take place at USPTO will be conducted remotely by video or telephone.

Europe

  • Some deadlines are extended to 1 May 2020.

United Kingdom

  • Extensions of time for some deadlines and considerations for loss of rights are available for those affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Canada

  • Most deadlines between March 16, 2020 and March 31, 2020 are being provided with an extension of time to April 1, 2020.

Key Takeaways

Many Intellectual Property Offices have officially indicated that they will be empathetic when considering extension requests in the wake of Covid-19, while others have even suspended deadlines completely for the time-being. Check what extensions or changes of process are being offered in the jurisdictions relevant to your applications.

If you have any concerns about maintaining your IP right in these difficult times, LegalVision’s patent and trade mark lawyers can help. Fill out the form on this page or call us on 1300 544 755.

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