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COVID-19 Intellectual Property News

Insight David Devernoe David Devernoe · March 20, 2020

Africa Regional Intellectual Property Office:  Discourages in-person meetings.  Continuing operations via electronic means.

Austrian Intellectual Property Office:  All office deadlines in proceedings before the registry (e.g., notice periods) are extended by two months without the need to request the extension. But, statutory deadlines (e.g., deadlines for submitting appeals or for paying annual and protection fees) cannot be extended.

Brazil Intellectual Property Office:  All buildings are closed.  Continuing operations via electronic means.

Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO):  All time limits expiring and due dates falling between 16 March 2020 to 31 March 2020 have been extended until 1 April 2020.  Further similar extensions are contemplated by the EPO.

China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA):  Waiving fees and extending deadlines for restoring rights in case a deadline was missed due to the COVID-19 outbreak (documentation may be required).  Request to restore rights must be filed within 2 months from removal of the issue preventing meeting the deadline and 2 years within the time limit expiration.

European Patent Office:  Deadlines for responding to official actions falling between 15 March 2020 and 17 April 2020 have been extended until 17 April 2020.  All Oral Proceedings in all Divisions are postponed until 17 April 2020.  Additional leniency with compliance with deadlines may be provided apart from this extension if evidence can be provided that in the 10 days leading to a missed deadline that it was not possible to comply due to an “exceptional occurrence,” which includes being in a high-risk area affected by the COVID-19 outbreak (specifically listing Italy, Iran and specific parts of China, South Korea, France, Austria, Spain, the U.S., and Germany – with the list constantly expanding).  This guidance does not extend priority claiming deadlines or deadlines related to divisional application filing or patent validations. 

Further similar extensions are contemplated by the EPO.

European Union Intellectual Property Office:  All time limits expiring and due dates falling between 9 March 2020 to 30 April 2020 have been extended until 1 May 2020.

Finland Intellectual Property Office:  Offices closed until further notice.  Continuing operations normally via electronic means.

France Intellectual Property Office:  All buildings are closed and personnel are working from home.  Continuing operations via electronic means.

Hungary Intellectual Property Office:  Customer service is reducing hours.  Encouraging electronic means of conducting business.

India Trademark Registry:  All hearings between 17 March 2020 and 15 April 2020 are suspended until further notice.  Hearings after 15 April 2020 remain on schedule.

Industrial Property Office of the Czech Republic:  Filing office and cash desk are reducing hours.  Encouraging electronic means of conducting business.

Industrial Property Office of the Slovak Republic:  All buildings are closed.  Continuing operations via electronic means.

IP Australia:  Certain due dates cannot be extended and extensions will be considered in the usual manner, with special consideration given relative to COVID-19 related reasons.  Also, the Federal Court of Australia (where the majority of IP legal matters are heard) has suspended face-to-face hearings listed up to 30 June 2020. 

Ireland Intellectual Property Office:  Offices closed from 13 March 2020 until 29 March 2020.  Continuing operations normally via electronic means.

Israel Intellectual Property Office:  All buildings are closed.  Continuing operations via electronic means.

Italian Intellectual Property Office:  All time limits expiring and due dates falling between 31 January 2020 to 15 April 2020 will remain valid until 15 June 2020.

Japan Patent Office:  No official guidance issued.

Korea Intellectual Property Rights Information Service:  No official guidance issued.

New Zealand Intellectual Property Office:  Extensions will be considered in the usual manner, with special consideration given relative to COVID-19 related reasons.  Also, the Federal Court of Australia (where the majority of IP legal matters are heard) has suspended face-to-face hearings listed up to 30 June 2020. 

Norway Intellectual Property Office:  Customer service centre will be open but no in-person meetings.  Extensions of at least two months will be granted for designs and trademarks.  And, re-establishment of those rights lost due to missing a date can be requested.

Philippine Intellectual Property Office:  Will operate exclusively via electronic means until at least 14 April 2020.

Portugal Intellectual Property Office:  Offices closed until further notice.  In-person meetings still available via pre-scheduling.

Spanish Intellectual Property Office:  All deadlines are suspended and will be reset until the state of emergency ends.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO):  No extensions of due dates or requirements set by statute are being granted.  But, the USPTO is waiving Petition (i.e., Petition to Revive) fees for both patent and trademark matters and adding COVID-19-related reasons as a sufficient reason for a petition to restore rights in case a deadline was missed, and rights were lost.  For trademark matters a further explanation will be required regarding how the failure to respond to the Office communication was due to the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.  Petitions must be filed within 2 months of a Notice of Abandonment. 

In patents, petitions remain unavailable to extend due dates or fix a loss of rights associated with failure to perfect a priority claim, maintain copendency, pay an issue fee, or for a reexam requestor to file a reply statement.  In trademarks, petitions remain unavailable to extend due dates or fix a loss of rights associated with statements of use, affidavits of continued use, renewals, and opposition or cancellation proceeding filings.

The USPTO is not extending any statutory deadlines at the present time.

The US Federal Circuit Court of Appeals has cancelled all in-person arguments in April, though some business will be conducted via telephone.  Most District Courts have suspended hearings, depositions, and other in-person matters and are in the process of rearranging calendars.

United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office:  Information centres and research rooms closed until further notice.  Continuing operations normally via electronic means.

United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office:  Will continue to operate hearings by electronic means.  No physical hearings until at least 1 June 2020.

World Intellectual Property Organization:  No official guidance issued. But is providing an automatic extension of time limits when a national IP office is not open to the public.  WIPO is meanwhile limiting physical access to its facilities.


Leveraging two decades of intellectual property (IP) counseling experience as both in-house and outside counsel, Dave brings a Chief-IP counsel-type comprehensive and personalized perspective to his law practice.  His business-centered mindset fosters the smooth flow of commerce rather than being an impediment thereto, while at the same time accounting for and minimizing risks and rapidly executing on strategic IP opportunities.  Responsive, transparent, personable, inquisitive, and team-oriented are terms that aptly describe Dave’s seasoned approach.  Intellectual Property comprises a business tool/asset, whether it is a patent, trademark, copyright, trade secret, license, or other bundle of IP-related contractual rights, and Dave is an expert at securing and protecting such rights as well as evaluating and maximizing their value for his clients. Read more about David Devernoe.

Attorney Advertising. This document is not intended to be and is not considered to be legal advice. Transmission of this document is not intended to create, and receipt does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.