Patent Office Updates

As COVID-19 continues to spread and disrupt industries
across the globe, patent offices in Coronavirus affected countries are, for
lack of better term, not immune. These patent offices are responding by
implementing deadline extensions, office closures, and delays in services.

Below is a list of relevant patent offices divided by
region and their respective statuses as of March 20, 2020:

NORTH
AMERICA

  • United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
    • All offices closed from March
      16, 2020 until further notice – all USPTO operations will continue without
      interruption
    • Original handwritten
      signature no longer required for certain correspondence with the Office of
      Enrollment and Discipline (OED) and certain payments by credit card
    • Petition fees waived in certain
      situations for customers impacted by the coronavirus, but does not grant
      waivers or extensions of dates or requirements set by statute
  • Canadian IP Office (CIPO)
    • All deadlines extended until
      31 March
    • Expect significant delays in
      all services
    • Multiple CIPO offices are no
      longer receiving correspondence, including in Edmonton, Montreal, Toronto and
      Vancouver

EUROPE

  • World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
    • Reserving access to its
      headquarters to only personnel essential personnel
    • Processing of applications
      filed via WIPO’s IP services are so far not affected
  • European Patent Office (EPO)
    • All deadlines due between
      March 9 and April 16 are now due April 17
    • The extension also applies to
      PCT applications handled by the EPO
    • Affected parties are not
      required to file a request to the office for the extension of the time limit to
      take effect
  • United Kingdom IP Office (UKIPO)
    • Deadlines extended and IP
      rights reinstated for those affected by the virus, granting on a case-by-case
      basis
  • Italian IP Office (UIBM)
    • Any certificates and IP
      titles that expire between January 31 and April 15 will remain valid until June
      15, 2020 
  • The German IP Office (DPMA)
    • The following are closed or
      unavailable until further notice

      • Information centers
      • Research rooms
      • On-site consultations
      • Initial consultations for
        inventors
  • French IP Office (INPI)
    • All buildings closed to the
      public
  • Czech Republic IP Office (UPV)
    • Open with reduced hours
  • Norway IP Office (NIPO)
    • Customer service centers will
      “hold normal office hours, but staff will be taking the calls from home
    • No in-person meetings
    • NIPO headquarters are closed
      to the public until further notice
    • If specific deadlines or lost
      registered rights occur during this period, applicants and registrants can request
      re-establishment of those rights
  • Finland IP Office (PRH)
    • Customer service building in
      Helsinki is closed
  • Portugal IP Office (INPI)
    • All employees will be working
      from home from March 16, 2020
    • In-person services only
      available through pre-scheduling
  • Austrian IP Office
    • All office deadlines in
      proceedings before the registry are extended by two months without the need for
      users to request a further extension
    • However, all deadlines
      directly resulting from the law cannot be extended

ASIA/PACIFIC

  • Chinese Patent and Trademark Office (CNIPA)
    • Unaffected
    • Anyone in China who would
      miss the deadlines with regard to patents due to the coronavirus can apply for
      restoration of their rights
  • Hong Kong IP Office
    • Extended all patent, design
      and trademark deadlines for any filing date that fell between January 29 and
      February 21
    • Deadlines that fall after
      these dates are currently unaffected
  • Australian IP Office (IP Australia)
    • Requests for extensions can
      be made “in the normal way” and will be considered on a case-by-case
      basis
    • However, “some time
      periods cannot be extended” and suggested that brand owners reach out to
      IP professionals to check if an extension is possible
  • Philippines IP Office (IPOPHL)
    • Moved to an “online
      only” service 
    • From 16 March until 14 April,
      all manual IP filings are suspended
  • New Zealand IP Office (IPONZ)
    • all services are currently
      operating as usual
    • users can request an
      extension of time should they be affected by the virus

MIDDLE
EAST/AFRICA

  • Israel Patent Office
    • Do not visit the registry’s
      headquarters until further notice
    • Can contact the Authority by
      phone as usual, and submit documents online
    • Regular hearings in the
      Tribunal are cancelled, and new dates will be adjusted
  • Saudi Arabia IP Office
    • Suspended operations for at
      least 16 days from 16 March
  • African Regional IP Office (ARIPO)
    • Discouragement of walk-in
      enquiries and strongly encourage users to take advantage of the office’s online
      services and email/phone communications

CENTRAL/SOUTH
AMERICA

  • Brazilian IP Office (INPI)
    • Face-to-face service is now
      suspended indefinitely
  • Peru IP Office (Indecopi)
    • Suspended all public meetings
      indefinitely
    • All deadlines being processed
      are now suspended
  • Chilean IP Office (INAPI)
    • Public opening hours reduced
      essential queries and procedures that cannot be carried out by other means
    • Extension of terms for
      administrative procedures