As COVID-19 continues to spread, and countries worldwide implement social distancing measures, such measures have impacted how governments are handling intellectual property offices. Many intellectual property offices around the world have implemented new measures to limit their services or have shut down for the foreseeable feature. For companies and individuals with worldwide trademark portfolios, it is crucial to be aware of intellectual property office closures, and any deadline extensions in the coming weeks as to make sure no deadlines are missed. Accordingly, Venable is monitoring global intellectual property office updates to effectively manage our clients' IP portfolios.
To date, below are some updates and information concerning office closures and deadline extensions from intellectual property offices throughout the world. For many intellectual property offices, the physical office locations have been closed, but electronic filings have been permitted to continue. As the COVID-19 situation develops, Venable will publish updates of the information below accordingly.
United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO):
Currently, the USPTO has announced that petition fees will be waived in certain situations for customers impacted by the coronavirus. The USPTO notice did not grant waivers or extensions of dates or requirements set by statute. However, the USPTO is currently waiving the requirements of 37 CFR 1.4(e)(1) and (2) for an original handwritten signature for certain correspondence with the Office of Enrollment and Discipline and certain payments by credit card.
Foreign Trademark Offices Impacted by COVID-19:
- Algerian National Institute of Industrial Property (INPAI): the INPAI office remains open but with limited service hours from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm (local time) until April 10, 2020. A grace period of one month for deadlines will be granted once the pandemic is over.
- Andorran Patent and Trademark Office (OMPA): The OMPA has announced that all activities of the office are suspended starting March 18th until further notice and all deadlines have been postponed.
- Argentina National Institute of Industrial Property: The office has issued a suspension until April 3rd of all the deadlines. However, the office has indicated the dates of this measure could be modified and extended in case the current critical situation continue.
- Brazil Patent and Trademark Office (BPTO): The BPTO has announced all deadlines will be postponed until April 14th, 2020.
- Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) – The CIPO has announced that patent, trademark, and industrial design deadlines that fall due between March 16, 2020 and March 31, 2020 will be extended until April 1, 2020. Further extensions may be possible as the current situation evolves. There may be delays in all CIPO services.
- Colombia Industrial Property Office: Procedural services within the administrative proceedings are suspended until March 31, 2020 and judiciary functions are suspended until April 30, 2020. Agents can still file electronically via the online system where available; however, deadlines are suspended until the next working day on May 1, 2020.
- Ecuador Intellectual Property Office (SENADI): The office has suspended legal terms until March 22, 2020, but online filing services and payment of filing fees are available.
- European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO): The EUIPO has extended all deadlines expiring between March 9, 2020 and April 30, 2020 until May 1, 2020. Since May 1, 2020 is a national holiday, the extension will last until May 4, 2020.
- Egypt Trademark Office: All government offices are closed until April 8, 2020, until further notice. Any deadlines are automatically extended to the first working day. Online services will still be possible for electronic payments, official notifications and copies of any documents through email and the extension of all deadlines of submitting original documents and new patent applications.
- Gaza: Suspension of operations until April 5, 2020. Any deadlines falling between March 22, 2020 and April 4, 2020 are automatically extended to April 5, 2020.Guatemala Trademark office closed until March 31, 2020.
- Honduras Directorate General of Intellectual Property: Office has announced legal terms have been suspended until March 25, 2020. No online services are available, and all services are completely interrupted.
- Intellectual Property Office of India: Office will remain closed until April 14, 2020. In view of the same, the due dates by the office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks (CGPDTM) are suspended until the offices reopen. All hearings in the Patent Office through Video Conferencing scheduled between March 23, 2020 and April 14, 2020 have been adjourned and new dates of hearing will be communicated to parties.
- Iran: Working hours in all governmental entities reduced to 1PM until further notice.
- Iraq Industrial Property Department: A curfew has been imposed in Baghdad as of March 17 until March 29, and activities of IP offices are suspended until 29 March 2020.
- Italian Patent and Trademark Office (IPTO): The Italian Government has suspended every deadline and activity in Courts proceedings and IPTO procedures until April 15, 2020. Renewal payments for trademarks expiring between February 23, 2020 and April 15, 2020 must be finalized by June 15, 2020.
- Jordan Industrial Property Protection Directorate: The trademark office in Jordan suspended all operations until April 1, 2020. Any deadlines falling between March 18, 2020 and March 31, 2020 are automatically extended to April 1, 2020.
- Kurdistan: A curfew has been imposed imposed in Erbil and Sulaimani starting March 18 until April 1.
- Kuwait: The Patent and Trademark Office has suspended operations and will reopen on April 12, 2020. Any deadlines falling between March 12, 2020 and April 11, 2020 are automatically extended to April 12, 2020.
- Lebanon Office of Intellectual Property: The office has suspended operations until March 29, 2020.
- Libya: The Patent and Trademark Office in Libya announced that it suspended operations until April 6, 2020. Any deadlines falling between March 22, 2020 and April 5, 2020 are automatically extended to April 6, 2020.
- Mexican Patent and Trademark Office (IMPI): Issued a decree stating that no terms will run from March 24 to April 19, 2020.
- Moroccan Industrial and Commercial Property Office: All legal and regulatory deadlines in Courts are suspended until April 20, 2020. The Patent and Trademark Office in Morocco is operating regularly but has requested applicants to submit all applications online. Submitting records is not possible until further notice.
- Pakistan Intellectual Property Office: Provincial Government locked down the province and the city of Karachi starting March 23, 2020. IPO is closed until further notice.
- Panama: Legal terms have been suspended until March 30, 2020. No online services are available, and all services are completely interrupted
- Peru: Agents can still file electronically via the online system where available; however, current deadlines are automatically extended until the office resumes normal operating status on March 31, 2020.
- Philippines Intellectual Property Office: Agents can still file electronically via the online system where available; however, current deadlines are automatically extended until the office resumes normal operating status on April 15, 2020.
- Saudi Arabia (SAIP): The Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property has suspended operations for at least 16 days from March 16, 2020. All operations are carried out online but delays are expected. Online trademark searches of the Saudi trademark register cannot be conducted during the quarantine period.
- Spanish Patent and Trademark Office (SPTO): The office has suspended all deadlines of pending proceedings as of March 14, 2020 until the state of emergency is definitively concluded.
- Sudan: IP Office has announced it is accepting new filings only; all other services are suspended as from March 18 until March 31, 2020.
- Tunisia Patent and Trademark Office (INNORPI): The office has suspended all operations until April 6, 2020. All deadlines are automatically extended to April 6, 2020.
- Venezuela: Agents can still file electronically via the online system where available; however, current deadlines are automatically extended until the first working day when the Office resumes normal operations - currently unknown at this time.