EPO in corona situation: EPO has just announced the extent to which EPO negotiations will take place in the corona situation. All EPO Oral hearings are scheduled until 17 April 2020. Time limits will be extended.
The EPO is also reacting to the new corona situation and has just announced whether and how the oral EPO hearings will be held. The Office distinguishes between hearings before the Examination and Opposition Divisions and those before the Boards of Appeal.
Oral Hearings before the Examination and Opposition Divisions
Update of 23th of march
The EPO has decided to postpone until further notice all oral proceedings in examination and opposition proceedings scheduled until 17 April 2020 unless they have already been confirmed to take place by means of videoconferencing.
During this time the EPO will explore options for further facilitating, where applicable, the use of videoconferencing in oral proceedings.
In other possible cases where the corona situation – for example, due to travel restrictions – prevents a party from attending the oral proceedings, oral proceedings are offered by video conference both in the examination and, as far as possible, in the opposition proceedings, the EPO announced.
No oral proceedings before the Boards of Appeal
In view of the pandemic spread of coronavirus, the Boards of Appeal will limit their judicial activity. According to the update of 23 March 2020, no oral proceedings before the Boards of Appeal will take place until 17 April 2020. The parties concerned will be informed accordingly. Nevertheless, the Boards of Appeal will continue to issue written decisions, communications and summonses to oral proceedings, the EPO is currently planning.
Deadlines before the EPO extended
The time limits for patents will also be extended in the event of non-compliance with time limits, according to current information from the EPO, initially until 17 April 2020 for all parties concerned, for which purpose the EPO is invoking the application of Rule 134(2) EPC.
Just like the EPO, the European Patent and Trademark Office (EUIPO) today announced a further extension of the time limits until 1 May 2020, which applies to time limits for EU trademarks and designs.
CNIPA grants restoration of time limits
We would like to point out that the Chinese Patent and Trademark Office (CNIPA) also announced a special regulation by the Corona situation weeks ago.
If the situation with the corona virus results in the failure to meet a time limits for patents and even for trademarks, it is possible that these rights will be restored.
Would you also like to protect or defend your patent?