Due to the uncertain corona situation, there are frequent updates on the extension or restoration of time limits of the offices or courts. Our weekly update summarizes the current regulations as of 5 May 2020, the date of our last update for this article.
All EUIPO deadlines regarding European Trademarks and Community Designs will be extended until 18. May 2020 due to the exceptional situation caused by the corona virus according to Corona Update of 29 april.
This applies to all deadlines for trademarks and designs expiring between 1 May 2020 and 17 May 2020.
In a Corona Update of 4 may 2020, the EPO decided to postpone until further notice all oral proceedings in the examination and opposition procedure scheduled for 2 june 2020 (previously until 30 April 2020) unless it has already been confirmed that they will be held by video conference or the examination is converted into an oral hearing by video conference with the consent of the applicant.
Oral proceedings will not be held in the premises of the Boards of Appeal until 2 june 2020.
During this period, the EPO will examine ways of further facilitating the use of video conferencing in the oral proceedings, where appropriate.
Update of 16 April 2020:
A video-conference hearing and a hearing held on the premises of the European Patent Office (EPO) are equivalent, the EPO announced following a decision on 1 April. A request for new oral proceedings before the same body may thus be refused (whether it relates to a video conference or to any other form of proceedings) if the parties and the facts of the case remain unchanged, in accordance with Article 116 EPC.
Find more information HERE
Time limits before the DPMA
After the last update of 29 April 2020, all time limits in all ongoing property right proceedings granted by the German Patent and Trade Mark Office will be
ex officio extended until 4 May 2020 or no decision will be taken before then due to the expiry of the deadline. No separate communications will be made
about the deadline extensions.
Legally determined time limits, on the other hand, cannot be extended by the German Patent and Trade Mark Office, not even in a special situation such as the current corona situation. However, the DPMA points out that it is possible to restore time limits to their previous status after a request.
With regard to time limits in connection with requests for international registration or subsequent designation under the Protocol to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the Madrid Agreement (PMMA), the DPMA refers to the regulations of the WIPO. Also with regard to subsequent designations to an internationally registered trade mark it is strongly recommended to file the requests (MM4) directly with WIPO.
Thus, anyone who misses a legally defined deadline due to no fault of his own due to the current circumstances can have his proceedings reopened upon request. Each application will be examined by the Office on a case-by-case basis. If the conditions for restitutio in integrum are met, the applicant is placed in a position as if he had complied with the time limit, he informs the DPMA about his action in the corona situation.
It is particularly important in this context that this also applies to requests for extension of time limits, which have been determined by the German Patent and Trade Mark Office.
Presumably until 30 June 2020, the DPMA will not invite to hearings or oral proceedings.
For the time being, visitor traffic at the DPMA will be closed, and enquiry units and search rooms of the DPMA will also be closed to visitors until further notice. All counters and collection points of the DPMA will also be closed until further notice, this applies from 18 March 2020.
WIPO has also published information on the non-compliance with a deadline by the corona situation, with the last corona update of 23 March 2020 All users of the Madrid system and also of the Hague system who do not comply with a prescribed deadline for a notification addressed to the International Bureau of WIPO by the corona situation may be excused if the notification is sent within five days of regaining access to postal or delivery services or to electronic communications.
In any event, the communication must be received by the International Bureau of WIPO no later than six months after the relevant deadline.
Evidence of the reason must be provided, which may be, for example, an official communication, an official announcement or a certificate from a licensed medical practitioner.
Find more information HERE
Federal Court of Justice
Due to the currently spreading coronavirus (COVID 19/SARS-CoV-2) the German Federal Court of Justice including the library is closed for external visitors until further notice.
The public of hearings will not be affected by this, informed the Corona Update of the BGH on 16 March 2020.
Several dates and negotiations scheduled for this week were cancelled since 13 March 2020. The BGH also cancelled further negotiations for March and in April in individual consideration.
The first new dates are now scheduled for 14 May 2020.
European Court of Justice
The European Court of Justice announced with Corona Update on 27 April 2020 the following changes due to the corona situation:
Until further notice, the deadlines set by the Registry will be extended by one month from 31 March 2020. All oral hearings scheduled for 15 May 2020 will be postponed to a later date. However, the Court of Justice of the European Union plans to reopen the oral proceedings from 25 May 2020.
However, the legal time limits, including the time limits for bringing an action, will continue to run and must be respected by the parties, without prejudice to the possibility of relying on Article 45(2) of the Protocol on the Statute of the Court of Justice of the European Union.
In an update of 2 April, the General Court of the European Union announced that the hearings listed until 3 April 2020 were adjourned. Only the particularly urgent cases (accelerated procedures, priority procedures and procedures for interim relief) were dealt with.
This is how it will be handled until further notice. Priority will continue to be given to cases of special urgency. The hearings scheduled for 15 May 2020 will be postponed. However, the legal deadlines, including the time limits for bringing an action, will continue to run and must be met by the parties.
Find more information HERE
USA – USPTO
The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), following an update on April 29, 2020, confirmed the extension of the deadlines in connection with the current COVID-19 “Coronavirus” the extension of “certain patent and trademark deadlines” until June 1, 2020. A 30-day extension of the deadlines for the deadlines after March 27 had already been granted by the USPTO with a statement of personal consequences.
However, patent and trademark related documents (and payment requests) due between 27 March and 31 May will not be suspended until 1 June 2020.
The USPTO also announced that the fee for resuscitation applications under 37 CPR l .17(m) would be waived.
Fees and documents can still be processed via EFS-Web, USPS and the customer service window. Interviews and hearings of the USPTO will only be conducted virtually until further notice.
If the situation with the coronavirus results in the failure to meet a deadline for patents and trademarks, it is possible to restore these rights before the CNIPA.
Within two months of the removal of the obstacle, the restoration of rights must be requested before the CNIPA. The condition for this is to file an application “in the prior status” and to give reasons for the failure to meet the deadlines.
The parties concerned must request the restoration of the right at the latest within 2 years after the expiry of the unobserved time limit.
In addition to the reasons for the failure to comply, the facts and evidence must be set out. And the parties must add the omitted act – caused by the coronavirus – for which the deadline was missed.
Find more information HERE
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