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Global IP Offices Respond to COVID-19 Pandemic

March 19, 2020


Many uncertainties have arisen as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Courts across the country and the world are responding by staying proceedings, pushing back deadlines, and even closing their doors. The offices that manage intellectual property prosecution are also providing notice as to how matters will be handled during the pandemic.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) has issued several statements in the wake of the pandemic. While the USPTO has closed its offices to the public, it will continue its operations as normally as possible. The USPTO is not staying any deadlines and will continue to process trademark and patent matters. All interviews, oral hearings, and in-person meetings will now be conducted via teleconference. During this time, certain fees are being waived—such as those associated with reviving applications that were abandoned, cancelled, or expired as a result of delays associated with the COVID-19 outbreak.

The European Union Intellectual Property Office (“EUIPO”) has extended all time limits falling between March 9, 2020 and April 30, 2020 to May 4, 2020 as a result of the pandemic.

The European Patent Office (“EPO”) has also reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic and is providing continually updated information on its website. The EPO has taken several measures in light of the pandemic, including postponing all oral proceedings, extending deadlines expiring on or after March 15, 2020 to April 17, 2020, and allowing its staff to work from home.

The United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office (“UKIPO”) has taken similar measures. That office will continue to hold hearings via phone, will avoid scheduling in-person hearings until June, and has asked parties to avoid visiting its offices.

The guidelines listed above (and those of other global IP offices) will be continuously updated. Montgomery McCracken attorneys are available to assist clients with numerous issues related to COVID-19 and and and all intellectual property prosecution needs. Visit the firm’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center for more information and updates on this constantly evolving situation.