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COVID-19 Update

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COVID-19 During these unsettling times, you may want to know whether IP Offices worldwide are fully functional, if deadlines will be extended and additional important aspects, while filing and managing your trademarks internationally.

Our COVID-19 Update provides an overview on IP Office measures and Status quo worldwide.

Not every IP Office is included yet and developments are very dynamic. Hence, to keep us all abreast of the current situation, your contributions are highly appreciated! Please report the latest developments in your own country here.

Country   IP Office Measures
Albania   PTO - Applications, requests and all communication with the IPO should be submitted only electronically; for the time being is not possible to receive the notification issued by the IPO; deadlines have not been extended.
Courts — Hearings have been postponed until April 7, 2020. Deadlines and procedural time limits have not been extended; lawsuits and appeals can be filed by mail.
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Andorra   Office of Trademarks and Patents of the Principality of Andorra will be closed since March 14, 2020, indefinitely.
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Argentina   INPI remains operative. All deadlines are extended until April 3, 2020. This measn that all deadlines falling within the extension shall expire on April 3. The provision is not totally clear as to whether these extensions shall apply to the Paris Convention priority terms, i.e. six months for trademarks and designs and one year for patents and utility models.
The Regulation became effective on March 18, 2020, the day it was published in the Official Journal.
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Australia   Where an applicant cannot carry out an action within time due to the COVID-19 outbreak an extension of time may be available. Requests for extensions of time will need to be made in the normal way, accompanied where required by a declaration setting out how the COVID-19 outbreak interfered with responding in time. Requests for waiver or refund of the fee for the extension of time will be considered on a case by case basis as per our current practice.
Applicants should note that some time periods cannot be extended. Applicants should check with IP Australia or an intellectual property professional if they are uncertain whether an extension of time is possible.
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Austria   No personal advice until April 15, 2020. Customer service times from Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. until that date. There may be delays regarding trademark services such as trademark similarity searches. All time limits set by the Austrian Patent Office were extended by 2 months. However, this does not apply to priority periods or other time limits laid down in the law, so we will of course continue to take all necessary measures to ensure proper compliance with the deadline.
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Belarus   PTO – no changes for now, business as usual
Courts – no changes for now, business as usual
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Benelux   BOIP closed to Visitors. Online services will remain available. Current Deadlines are postponed. This order remains in effect until the public restrictions in the Benelux are lifted. Following this, a grace period of one month will be granted.
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Bosnia and Herzegovina   The head office of the Institute in Mostar and in branch offices in Sarajevo and Banja Luka Office hours of the Institute during the pandemic will be from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekdays.
All communication with the Institute will be conducted by regular mail, fax, telephone and e-mail. Work with clients is suspended. Exceptionally, industrial property representatives who collect mail at the Records Management Office in the Institute's Sarajevo branch office can collect mail every business day from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
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Brazil   The BPTO has published a notice that all deadlines will be suspended from March 16th to April 14th. Face-to-face meetings with the BPTO’s examiners and employees are suspended, and any questions and/or clarifications must be submitted electronically.
As for pending law-suits, Brazilian Courts have been enacting different provisions and it is expected that the National Council of Justice (the country’s higher body governing the management of the Courts) shall soon issue a unifying rule applicable to all Courts. The trend is that all or some of judicial deadlines are being suspended.
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Bulgaria   The access of external persons to the Central Patent Library is suspended as well as the granting of access to the files of the Industrial Property objects. Please use e-services, e-mail, fax, phone, post.
The next issue of the official bulletin will be published on 15 April 2020.
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Canada   All deadlines falling between March 16, 2020 and March 30, 2020 will automatically be extended until at least March 31, 2020. CIPO remains open and in operation at this time; however, clients should expect significant delays in all CIPO services. Some regional offices of CIPO are closed.

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China   The National Intellectual Property Administration is conducting business normally. With regard to trademarks the Public Notice No. 350 from Jan 28, 2020, stipulates, that the time limit established by the Trademark Law and its Implementing Rules or specified by the CNIPA due to the epidemic and related reasons, shall be suspended from the date when the obstacles to the exercise of rights arise, and shall continue to be counted until the obstacles to the exercise of rights are removed, unless otherwise provided by law.

If a party was unable to comply with a time limit due to the Coronavirus outbreak, the party may apply in writing within 2 months from the date of elimination of the obstacles to exercise his rights, explain the reasons, provide the corresponding supporting materials, and request the restoration of the rights.
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Czech Republic   The entry into the building of the Industrial Property Office is restricted to the public from 16 March 2020.
The filing office and cash desk remain open on working days from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm. Office hours are limited to Mondays and Wednesdays, from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm.
The Office remains in operation for all administrative work within its competence.
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Denmark   The Danish Patent and Trademark Office is operating as normal. Employees of the office work from home until Friday the 27th of March 2020. Due dates in relation to existing IP-rights will not be affected. No physical meetings. Applications must not be submitted in person. Please use e-filing or post instead.
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Ecuador   The Ecuadorian government has declared a total lockdown due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
All courts and government agencies, including the IP Office are closed, and the deadlines have been suspended.
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Egypt   From March 16, 2020: The authorities in Egypt have announced closure of all courts until March 29, 2020. All hearings that were meant to take place between these dates shall be postponed and shall be rescheduled as soon as the courts reopen.
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Estonia   The Patent Office continues to work in the current emergency situation, but it is closed for visitors. Receipt of applications and other requests (vastuvoett@epa.ee, phone +372 627 7911) is either via e-channels, the mailbox of the Patent Office or by post. Consultations are provided by examiners by e-mail or phone.
All public events have been postponed until the end of the emergency situation.
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Finland   From March 16, 2020: Customer Service closed until further notice. Online Services running normally. Office is prepared to carry out its duties as an authority despite the coronavirus outbreak. Currently, notifications filed with the Finnish Trade Register and Register of Associations are processed normally for the most part. This also applies to other filed notifications and applications.
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France   From March 17, 2020: All offices of INPI closed for the public. Please rely on e-services.
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Germany   From March 18, 2020, 3 p.m.: personal document acceptance and payment counters closed at all DPMA locations. The IPO has commented that all requests for an extension of a deadline are likely to be granted. Deadlines set by law cannot be extended.
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EPO   All deadlines during the period between 15 March to 17 April will be extended to 17 April. The EPO has also 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. No oral proceedings in the Boards of Appeal until 17 April 2020.
Search, examining and opposition divisions will continue with their other activities, as well as holding oral proceedings which have been confirmed to take place by means of videoconferencing.
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Greece   As from 16 March 2020 and until further notice the Greek Trademark Office is not open for the public, including professionals.
Electronic services -where implemented- remain available.
All deadlines related to trademarks which cannot be met via electronic services (i.e. filing of oppositions etc.) as well as deadlines set by the presidents of the Boards of the Administrative Trademark Committee regarding examined cases are suspended for the same period.
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Hungary   From March 16,2020: Limited opening hours from Monday -Thursday 10.00 a.m. -12.00 p.m. Customers are requested to use E-Mail or telephone correspondence. For applications please use e-filing or post. In-person consultation with examiners suspended
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India   All filing limitations and Deadlines extended: Via an order dated March 23, the Supreme Court of India, has ordered that “…(the) period of limitation in all such proceedings, irrespective of the limitation prescribed under the general law or Special Laws whether condonable or not shall stand extended w.e.f. 15th March 2020 till further order/s to be passed by this Court….”
The Supreme Court has ruled that this is a binding order on all Courts / Tribunals and authorities.
The office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs & Trade Marks (CGPDTM), via an order dated March 25, 2020, has issued a Public Notice to the effect that “….the due dates of timelines/periods prescribed under different IP Acts and Rules administered by the O/o CGPDTM with respect to completion of various acts/activities, filing of any reply/document, payment of fees, etc. regarding any IP applications filed with the offices under the administrative control of the O/o CGPDTM shall be the date on which the offices will re-open.”

On March 16, 2020, the Indian Trademark Registry notified, via public notice, that all hearings relating to trademarks matters scheduled between March 17, 2020 to April 15, 2020 are adjourned and will be rescheduled in due course of time.
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Indonesia   The Directorate General of Intellectual Property has issued an Official Circular Letter informing that the closing of the office and restriction of their services will be extended until April 5, 2020.
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Iran   The Intellectual Property Office in Iran has announced that it has decided to temporarily decrease working hours and close at 1 PM. Furthermore, it may have to cease operations until further notice, if coronavirus continues to spread in the country. For now, all actions can be undertaken without disruption.
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Iraq   Following the outbreak in Iraq, the Trademark Office announced that it will temporarily suspend operations until March 16, 2020. The TMO, however, will only be processing renewals and opposition proceedings that fall during this time period.
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Italy   The IPTO suspended the terms between February 23 and April 15 excluding the following deadlines, which are not extended:
term for filing oppositions, term for filing statement of grounds, two months term for filing the POA if not filed at the time of the oppositions, the deadline for filing an appeal against the decisions of the Italian Patent and Trademark Office. Further clarifications from the IPO are awaited.
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Kazakhstan   From March 16 to April 15, 2020 consulting the applicants during a personal visit to the office of the RSE "NIIP" of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Nur-Sultan is paused.
Consultations will be provided by telephone numbers +7 7172 621 515, 621 516, 621 591, by e-mail kazpatent@kazpatent.kz, as well as online on the official website of the RSE “NIIP” of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Kazakhstan in the “Jivosite” section.
At the same time receiving and issuing outgoing correspondence of the RSE “NIIP” of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Kazakhstan will be carried out from 10:00 to 17:00 through the external window of the office on the ground floor.
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Kuwait   The Patent and Trademark Office announced that it will temporarily suspend operations until March 26, 2020. Urgent oppositions cases can be processed including all functions that are undertaken online like filings and renewals; however, patent/design application or recordal request of change of address/name/assignment can only be processed once the Kuwaiti Trademarks Office resumes work.
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Latvia   The Lithuanian Patent Office only provided information on customer service: from March 16, 2020 until the end of the state of emergency (currently until April 14, 2020), local customer service is limited. Moreover, all documents can only be filed electronically.
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Libya   The authorities in Libya has announced that all courts, trademark office, and patent office shall be suspended until further notice as preventive measure to contain the outbreak are in force.
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Malaysia   The Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia (MyIPO) has temporarily suspended its operations. However, new applications will continue to be accepted via the e-filing system. All deadlines to respond to office actions and trademark renewals falling within this period will be extended to 30 April 2020; while deadlines for patents and industrial designs due for renewal at this time will be extended to 1 April 2020.
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Mauritius   The Prime Minister has announced a National Confinement until April 03, 2020. No applications will be accepted until that date.
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Moldova   Activity of the State Agency for Intellectual Property of the Republic of Moldova (AGEPI) is not disturbed, the employees of the institution working in special working regime. Therefore, applicants for patent applications / registration of the intellectual property objects that have the possibility, can take the necessary actions in order to carry out the procedures in front of AGEPI. The use of the online filing system is encouraged. Payment of services by bank card, in advance or by using the MPay Government Service.
Taking into account Provision no. 1 of March 18, 2020 of the Commission for Exceptional Situations of the Republic of Moldova, all the terms related to the procedures in front of AGEPI of any kind do not start to run, and if they have started to run, will be suspended during the entire state of emergency established according to the Parliament Decision no. 55/2020. Respectively, the deadlines for the proceedings before the AGEPI will start to run after the lifting of the state of emergency.
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Peru   A national lockdown has been declared in Peru by the Peruvian Government due to the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
Consequently, the Peruvian Patent and Trademark Office has suspended all activities until March 30, 2020, and all the deadlines have been postponed accordingly.
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Philippines   1. All scheduled hearings before the IPO, including mediation, are suspended.
2. Deadlines for all papers, pleadings, documents, and payments falling due from March 16, 2020, to April 14, 2020, are deemed extended for a period of thirty (30) calendar days from the due date.
3. New applications for patents, utility models, industrial designs, and trademarks for the period of 16 March 2020 to 14 April 2020 may be filed online through the IPO's electronic filing system but processing shall commence upon resumption of work. No manual filing shall be accepted during the said period.

It will be noted from item 3 that there is no extension for the period for filing patent applications claiming convention priorities e.g PCT and Paris Convention applications.
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Poland   All hearings on or after 16 March 2020 have been cancelled until further notice.
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Portugal   The current global crisis resulting from the pandemic caused by the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19 disease) led to the publication of Law No. 1-A / 2020, of 19 March, which approved exceptional and temporary measures to respond to situation.
All procedural and procedural deadlines are suspended until a date to be defined in a decree-law that will declare the cessation of the exceptional situation provided for therein. Such forecast applies to the terms that run under the terms of the INPI and takes effect on March 12.
The INPI is operating as normal as possible in a State of Emergency in order to respond to the needs of IP users and their stakeholders, while also preserving the safety of their employees, who are, for the most part, on teleworking.
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Romania   The State Office for Inventions and Trademarks is closed until March 23, 2020, or until further notice. All deadlines are postponed until after March 23, with a possible further extension.
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Russian Federation   By presidential decree on March 25, 2020, the week starting March 30 is declared a week off. The Russian Patent and Trademark Office (Rospatent) will not be operational, and all deadlines will be automatically extended to the next working day.
As indicated earlier, Rospatent has limited physical access to its premises and restricted the channels for receiving paper documents. Applicants are encouraged to file documents electronically via the patent offices’ customized portals and other secure systems.
Hearings in Russian courts are suspended until at least April 10, 2020. Hearings at Rospatent’s Chamber for Patent Disputes will be held remotely as teleconferences until May 8, 2020.
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Saudi Arabia   The Saudi Trademark Office (along with other governmental bodies) announced that it will temporarily suspend operations for 16 days from March 16th until further notice. Since most of the functions of the IP office is online all actions can be undertaken but some delay is expected. Kindly note that searches cannot be conducted during this period.
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Slovakia   The office is closed to the public, but the office continues its work. The Info centre will provide information exclusively by telephone (048/43 00 131, 048/4300 111) or electronically (infocentrum@indprop.gov.sk). The Office registry shall not accept personal filing of applications; The Office's clients may use electronic or postal submissions to submit applications.
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EUIPO   A decision of the Executive Director has been published extending all time limits to May 1, 2020. In practice, this means that time limits are extended until Monday 4 May, given that Friday 1 May is a public holiday.

EUIPO’s Information Centre and Second Line will continue to operate as normal to receive queries by phone or email.
The Office’s headquarters will remain closed until further notice; no visitors will be admitted and all events scheduled at the Office during this period are postponed.
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Spain   The office is closed to the public, but the office continues its work. There is telephone and electronic support. Due to the state of emergency in Spain, all deadlines in administrative proceedings have been suspended by the Government of Spain on March 14, 2020, until the state of emergency has been lifted. The state of emergency is expected to last at least 15 days.
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WIPO   WIPO announced that processing applications filed via WIPO’s Global IP Services has not been affected by the Covid-19 outbreak.

So far, WIPO has been able to continue to process applications filed through the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), the Madrid System for the International Registration of Marks, the Hague System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs, as well as administer other IP and related systems, including the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center.
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Switzerland   The IPI has taken the necessary measures to keep its operations running and to ensure that procedures are unaffected. The IPI remains closed to visitors until further notice.

Regarding requests for an extension of a time limit, the IPI will exercise its discretionary powers within the framework of national and international law. For all procedures, IPI will grant an extension of two months for the first and second extension of the time limit. If important reasons are presented, IPI will grant a third extension of an appropriate duration, without the agreement of any opposing party.
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Turkey   Effective March 26, 2020, deadlines expiring between March 13 and April 30, 2020 for administrative and legal proceedings concerning IP rights were suspended until May 1, 2020 (in practice May 4) in connection with other measures against the COVID-19 pandemic.
This effects deadlines for administrative proceedings before the Turkish PTO (includes deadlines for payment of official fees for obtaining or maintaining IP rights, filing responses to office actions, submission of oppositions, appeals, submission of evidences to prove use of opponent’s marks and claiming priority), deadlines for civil legal proceedings (irrespective of whether the deadlines were set by the Courts or are statutory in nature; time limits for proceedings required to conduct preliminary injunction orders will keep running as usual), and deadlines for subsequent proceedings in criminal actions. Hearings of civil and criminal court actions falling into this suspension term can be postponed by the Courts to any date later than 30 April 2020 (in practice May 4th).
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Ukraine   All documents to be filed electronically. No personal consultation. Negotiations or expert meetings on applications submitted with the participation of the applicant or his representative shall be suspended.
Renewal of the rights of the applicant, owner or other interested person in respect of the application or registration in case of non-compliance with the deadlines will be in accordance with national and international legislation in the field of intellectual property.
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United Kingdom   The UKIPO will extend time periods where national and international legislation allows. Requests for extensions of time will be considered as favourably as possible on a case-by-case basis. Where a failure to meet a time period has resulted in a loss of rights, those rights may be reinstated or restored in certain circumstances.
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