All time limits relating to European Trademarks and Community Designs before EUIPO will be extended due to the exceptional situation caused by the coronavirus – until 29 February 2020, for all time limits involving parties from China.
Anyone in China who would miss the deadlines for patents or trademarks due to the coronavirus can apply for restoration in China of their rights – we reported. Now also the Office of the European Union for Intellectual Property (EUIPO) has reacted to the quarantine measures and exceptional situation caused by the coronavirus.
European trademarks and community designs before the EUIPO
All time limits relating to European trademarks and community designs before the EUIPO will be extended due to the exceptional situation caused by the corona virus – until 29 February 2020, for all deadlines that would expire between 30 January 2020 and 28 February 2020 inclusive, and which affect parties in proceedings before the Office who are domiciled or have their seat in the People’s Republic of China.
Time limits for patents are excluded from EUIPO
Patents and time limits relating to a European patent have so far been excluded. This is because – contrary to what the name suggests – European patents do not only apply to EU member states to a limited extent. The European Patent Organisation is an independent international organisation with currently 38 contracting states. However, the European patent functions like a bundle of national patents, because the patent applicant must request the validation of his European patent at the respective national patent offices of the contracting states.
Accordingly, the European Patent Office (EPO) would have to adopt a regulation to extend or restore time limits for European patents; this cannot be done by the EUIPO.
Official statement of the World Health Organisation
EUIPO announced in the official notice of extension of time limits for trade marks and designs that the extension would be granted pursuant to Article 101 (4) CDR and Article 58 (4) CDIR. So far, the extension applies to all periods which would expire between 30 January 2020 and 28 February 2020 inclusive, extended until 29 February 2020. This decision is in force since 15 February 2020.
The extension is justified by the official statement of the World Health Organization, which declared on 30 January 2020 that an outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in China constituted an international health emergency. This outbreak of coronavirus had affected communications between China and the European Union.
However, under Article 101 (4) EUTMR, the Executive Director may extend time limits if an exceptional event, such as a natural disaster or strike, hinders the parties in their proceedings. This is now the case due to the coronavirus and the exceptional situation.
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