Intellectual Property Office – Interrupted Days Introduced Because of the Coronavirus Outbreak

Intellectual Property Office – Interrupted Days Introduced Because of the Coronavirus Outbreak

The Intellectual Property Office is declaring 24 March 2020 and subsequent days until further notice to be interrupted days.

IPO interrupted days

The Intellectual Property Office is declaring 24 March 2020 and subsequent days until further notice to be interrupted days.

This power is set out in rule 110 of the Patents Rules 2007, rule 75 of the Trade Marks Rules 2008, and rule 40 of the Designs Rules 2006. The notice of interruption will be published in our Journals and displayed at our sites.

The declaration of interrupted days means that any deadlines for:

  • patents
  • supplementary protection certificates
  • trade marks,
  • designs, and
  • applications for these rights

which fall on an interrupted day will be extended to the next non-interrupted day.

This applies to all time periods set out in the various relevant UK Acts and Rules, and to all non-statutory periods that have been specified by staff.

It does not apply to time periods set out under the various international IP treaties e.g. the Patent Cooperation Treaty, European Patent Convention, or the Madrid system, where the Office may be acting as a Receiving Office. Remedies are available under the various international systems.

This period of interruption does not affect filing dates of IP applications which are filed at the Office and do not claim priority from a previous application. These will be assigned a filing date under the usual rules.

We are taking this action in view of the disruption to applicants’ businesses and ability to receive and send post by the current coronavirus pandemic. It is consistent with action taken by other intellectual property offices such as the European Patent Office and the European Union Intellectual Property Office.

We will review the situation in three weeks’ time (17 April 2020) and will either continue with the period of interruption or announce that the period will end after a further two weeks.

This action relaxes the requirements on applicants or rights-holders to act by certain deadlines. To keep work moving, and to avoid a surge of work once the interruption period ends, users are strongly encouraged not to wait for the end of the period of interruption, and to meet original deadlines, where that remains possible.

We remain operational and able to conduct all forms of business but there are impacts on certain processes. We are extending the ways in which we can communicate with our customers electronically and advise our customers to use alternatives to post.