This is an update for various patent offices as a result of the coronavirus pandemic (updates received and provided by Morningside IP). These updates are current as of March 26.
Canada - The Canadian Intellectual Property Office will provide an extension to April 1 for all deadlines falling between March 16 and March 31 that were effected by COVID-19. For deadlines falling after April 1, extensions can be obtained upon request.
EPO - The European Patent Office has issued a general deadline extension to April 17 that applies to all EPO-specific deadlines expiring on or after March 15. The extension covers all deadlines of EP applications pending before the EPO, including office action deadlines.
India - Due to national lockdown, India’s Office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks will remain closed for a period of 21 days effective from March 25. As a result, due dates falling during this period of closure will be delayed until the date on which the office reopens (April 15). Delayed due dates will be applied to completion of various acts/proceedings, filing of any reply/document, and payment of fees.
Israel - The Israel Patent Office said it is likely to grant extensions where applicants can demonstrate that circumstances relating to the Corona epidemic resulted in an inability to meet ILPO deadlines. In order to allow applicants time to submit extension requests, no files will be closed before May 1 for failure to answer ILPO correspondence.
Italy - The Italian Intellectual Property Office announced that any certificates and IP titles expiring between January 31 and April 15 will remain valid until June 15 (this does not apply to international trademark applications).
Mexico - The Mexican Institute of Industrial Property, as well as all the courts, will remain closed to the public, suspending and extending all terms at least until April 20. Therefore, all deadlines will be moved to April 20th when applications/responses can be filed before IMPI.
South Africa - Due to national lockdown, the South African Companies and Intellectual Property Commission will be closed through April 16, including online systems. Deadlines for filing Annual Returns between March 25 and April 15 will be automatically extended until April 30.
South Korea - The Korean Intellectual Property Office will grant an automatic deadline extension for applicants who have failed to comply with the statutory time limits for submitting documents or paying fees to KIPO, for any reasons relating to the coronavirus. Affected applicants will be asked to submit a relief measure request or a statement of payment, together with an explanatory statement and evidential materials.
Thailand - The Thailand Department of Intellectual Property is implementing a grace period that will extend the usual deadlines for anyone who is directly affected by COVID-19. The grace period will apply to all IP-related prosecution processes, including deadlines related to applications, oppositions, registrations, office actions or any payment.
United Kingdom - According to the UK Intellectual Property Office, all physical hearings are cancelled until June 1 (this date will be kept under review). Rescheduled hearing dates will be communicated by the UKIPO over the next few days.
USA - The United States Patent and Trademark Office will waive the requirement for an original handwritten ink signature for certain documents and payments. Copies of signatures will be accepted in both instances.
Here is a list of some of the national and regional Patent Offices that are physically closed to the public, though the majority are maintaining online services:
Please note that many patent offices are operating at a reduced staff level, so delays are to be expected.
Ashley Sloat, Ph.D.
Startups have a unique set of patent strategy needs - so let this blog be a resource to you as you embark on your patent strategy journey.