Corona and time limit regulations of the patent and trade mark offices (as of 25.05.2020)
In connection with the spread of COVID-19, the offices have issued corresponding regulations concerning the observance of time limits.
German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA)
Time limits set by the DPMA in ongoing proceedings (e.g. for responses to office actions) were extended until 4 May 2020.
Time limits set by law (e.g. filing of translations, payment of fees including renewal fees, priority periods, nationalization from PCT) cannot be extended. In this case, failure to observe a time limit only allows for re-establishment of rights, although some time limits, such as the opposition period against a granted patent and the opposition period against a registered trade mark, are excluded.
Hearings and oral proceedings are currently neither fixed nor carried out. The DPMA will inform the parties in writing about the cancellation of dates already set.
Federal Patent Court (BPatG)
As of 4 May 2020, the Federal Patent Court will resume meeting operations to a limited extent while observing the measures prescribed by occupational health and safety law.
European Patent Office (EPO)
All time limits expiring on or after 15 March 2020 for European or Euro-PCT applications are currently extended until 2 June 2020 under Rule 134(2) EPC. However, the current communication from the EPO explicitly excludes time limits for filing divisional applications and making written submission in preparation for oral proceedings (https://www.epo.org/news-issues/covid-19.html).
For fee payments paid on or after 1 April 2020, the increased fees applicable as of 1 April 2020 shall be taken into account. See also: https://www.epo.org/law-practice/legal-texts/official-journal/2020/01/a3.html.
All oral proceedings in examination and opposition proceedings scheduled until 14 September 2020 will be postponed until further notice unless videoconferencing is confirmed. The parties will receive separate notifications in this regard as soon as possible. Future oral proceedings in examination and opposition proceedings are to be increasingly conducted as video conferences.
From 18 May 2020, oral proceedings of the Boards of Appeal will again be held to a limited extent on the premises of the EPO. The parties concerned are requested to inform the Board of Appeal immediately whether they will be able to attend in person and whether they are not subject to travel restrictions.
In a joint message from the USPTO and the EPO, it was announced that there should be facilitation for extensions of time limits, including for payment of fees, and flexibility for oral proceedings in the form of video conferencing or postponement. More information on the USPTO’s measures can be found at https://www.uspto.gov/coronavirus.
European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO)
All time limits concerning trade mark and design procedures have been extended until 1 May 2020, de facto until Monday, 4 May 2020. Excluded from this extension are the time limits for bringing an action before the Enlarged Board against decisions of the Boards of Appeal and other procedures.
All events scheduled at the EUIPO for this period will be postponed.
Further information: https://euipo.europa.eu/ohimportal/en/news/-/action/view/5644698
World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
Renewal fees for international registrations of trade marks and designs remain due. The possibility to file applications by mail has been suspended. Users must use electronic filing.
Current events will be postponed or cancelled.