Coronavirus and Patent Offices Around the World

Due to the threat of COVID-19, many Patent Offices around the world have implemented the suspension of, or extensions in the time limits, to complete certain actions.  Although some deadlines to complete an action have been extended, in general, the payment deadlines of annuity/renewal fees remain unchanged.

We have provided the following information on a selection of Patent Offices in the jurisdictions of Australia, New Zealand, and several of our major trading partners.  If you have any specific questions regarding these or any other countries, or you are facing difficulties in providing us with your timely instructions, please contact us to discuss a possible course of action.

Australian Patent Office

  • Where an applicant cannot carry out an action within time due to the COVID-19 outbreak an extension of time may be available. Requests for extensions of time will need to be made in the normal way, including filing a declaration setting out how the COVID-19 outbreak interfered with responding in time.
  • Requests for waiver or refund of the fee for the extension of time will be considered on a case by case basis.

Canadian Patent Office

  • All deadlines falling between 16 March 2020 and 31 March 2020 extended to 1 April 2020.

European Patent Office (EPO)

  • Deadlines expiring on or after 15 March 2020 extended to 17 April 2020.
  • Oral proceedings will not be held in the premises of the Boards of Appeal from 16 March 2020 until 17 April 2020.
  • All oral proceedings in examination and opposition proceedings scheduled until 17 April 2020 are postponed until further notice unless they have already been confirmed to take place by means of videoconferencing.

New Zealand Patent Office

  • If circumstances related to COVID-19 have affected you or are affecting your ability to respond by a deadline, you may request IPONZ for an extension of time to meet that deadline.
  • IPONZ will assess extension of time requests on a case-by-case basis.

United States Patent Office (USPTO)

  • There is no mechanism under US patent law to allow for extensions of time to complete an act, however, the USPTO is waiving petition fees in certain situations for customers impacted by the coronavirus.
  • No changes to deadlines to complete an action.

Other countries

Alterations to deadlines are also applicable in at least Argentina, Brazil, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Spain, Taiwan and Venezuela.  Please contact us if you require detailed information on any of these jurisdictions.

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