As Coronavirus continues to make an impact on a global scale, all countries are either implementing social distancing or imposing lockdown on citizens. Whilst on a personal level, we are rightly concerned with the safety and wellbeing of our loved ones, on a business level this also imposes restrictions.
At Paris Smith, we are business as usual and we are remotely working on your matters to provide you with a continued service. If the IP team are currently dealing your trade mark matters, we are reliant on the UK and International Intellectual Property Offices for their continued services.
So far, the UK and EU IPOs have stated that they will take whatever measures they can to support the rights of applicants and their attorneys who have been affected. Staff are working remotely and are continuing to receive, examine, publish and administer trade mark applications in the usual way. Both IPOs are sending communications and setting deadlines and bulletins are being published as usual. However, no physical hearings are taking place until 1 June 2020 (this date will be kept under review) and all hearings are being operated by telephone, skype or other virtual methods. Parties will be contacted over the next few days if their current hearing arrangements need to change.
At the EU IPO, all deadlines expiring between 9 March – 30 April will automatically be extended until (currently) 1 May 2020.
At the UK IPO, they are willing to consider requests for extensions of time as favourably as possible on a case-by-case basis. Our view is that we should continue to adhere to current deadlines so that as many cases are settled as possible before matters change.
WIPO has activated its business continuity protocol and moved to an almost entirely virtual work presence, with only a small pool of personnel retaining access to our Geneva, Switzerland headquarters. This is in line with public health authorities’ guidance to curb the further spread of Covid-19.
WIPO states that it is committed to ensuring that any transitional issues experienced by users, IP offices and any other stakeholders in its processes are kept to a minimum despite these extenuating circumstances.
International IPOs are largely following suit – China has continued to provide services during its peak coronavirus period and our agents assure us that things are slowly getting back to normal. Often, international IPOs have a much longer response period so our deadliness should largely be unaffected. We should however, all be mindful that this is a period of unprecedented challenge in modern times.
If you have any concerns about your trade mark portfolio then please email our Trademarks Team.
We have a Coronavirus – legal advice and guidance page which is continually being updated as new issues come to light/government guidelines change. Please do take a look and revisit from time to time our latest advice.