UK IPO extends deadlines due to COVID-19
The UK IPO has reviewed its decision in relation to “interrupted days” and has declared that its “interrupted days” period will end on 29 July 2020. Therefore, the first non-interrupted day will commence on 30 July 2020 and all normal operations will resume. The UK IPO has stated that it is working to put measures in place to ease burdens on businesses following the end of the “interrupted days” period. This includes seeking parliamentary approval in order to temporarily remove the fees for extension requests.
This follows previous announcements on 27 March 2020 and 7 May 2020 where the UK IPO declared that 24 March 2020 and subsequent days were to be “interrupted days” until further notice. This means that any deadlines which fall on an “interrupted day” will be extended to the next non-interrupted day.
In order to keep work moving and to avoid a surge of work once the interruption period ends, where possible Clarke Willmott will continue to meet the original deadlines rather than wait for the end of the period of interruption.
This period of interruption does not apply to time periods set out under the Madrid System, where the UKIPO may be acting as a Receiving Office.
New Trade Mark and Design applications will not have their filing dates affected by these interrupted days where they are filed at the UK IPO and do not claim priority from a previous application. These will continue to be assigned a filing date under the usual rules.
Examinations and hearing reports
The UK IPO has also announced that it will allow four months to respond to new examination reports issued in relation to Trade Mark applications, not the current two months, removing the need for an extension.
It is not possible to extend the reply period for Designs examination reports but extensions are available.
Most accepted Trade Marks will be published for opposition purposes. There may be a delay for some because of the need to notify owners of any earlier UK marks (and international marks with UK designation) identified within the search report as this is currently only done by post.
There will be a delay in receiving postal versions of Trade Mark and Design registration certificates.
The UK IPO will continue to receive and process international applications and registrations and correspond with holders by email where possible.
For further advice and guidance on this issue, please contact a member of our specialist team.