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COVID-19 and coronavirus pandemic - effect on IP matters

Monday, March 30th, 2020 / no comments /

[as at 30-Mar-2020]

We are compiling information on the status of deadlines of IP matters at the UKIPO, EPO, EUIPO and other offices our clients commonly seek IP protection, as follows:


The UKIPO has issued an update on interrupted days and the effect on deadlines.  The key points are:

  • All deadlines for patents, trade marks and designs which fall due on 24th March 2020 onwards will be extended until 1st May 2020 at the earliest.
  • All post and paper services with the IPO are suspended. The UKIPO has established all communications to be electronically (via online filing or where not possible via a dedicated email address) [nothing to be sent by fax or post]



The EPO established special measures in a notice issued on 15th March 2020.  The key points are:

  • All time limits expiring on or after 15th March 2020 are extended until 17th April 2020.
  • The extension of time limits also applies to periods for paying fees, including renewal fees. The due date for renewal fees falling de on 31st March 2020 is deferred to 20th April 2020
    • While the EPO fees increases fees with effect from 1st April 2020, it has decided that renewal fees (or other fees) due on or before 31st March 2020 and paid in the deferred period mentioned above will not be subject to the increase in fees.
  • The EPO has postponed all Oral Proceedings due to take before and including 17th April 2020, unless they had already been agreed to be conducted as videoconference oral proceedings



All deadlines are extended to 4th May 2020 (with effect from 16th March 2020 in relation to deadlines falling due from 9th March 2020).



The Irish patent office will be closed from 13th March to 19th April 2020, which period will be considered ‘excluded days’.

All deadlines are extended until 20th April 2020.



Delays from CIPO to be expected

All deadlines extended to 1st May 2020

“any business before the Canadian Intellectual Property Office for doing anything ends on any of these designated days, that time period is extended to the next day that is not either a designated day or a day that has been prescribed under section 5 of the Patent Rules, section 15 of the Trademarks Regulations and section 36 of the Industrial Design Regulations, which means that all such time limits ending on any of these designated days will now be extended until May 1, 2020”




As yet, the USPTO is not granting exceptional extensions.

(However, petition fees may be waived for parties who are directly affected by corona virus).


IP Australia is open for business.

However, if a deadline falls due and the applicant cannot carry out the action due to the COVID-19 outbreak, an extension of time may be available (for some deadlines).


South Africa

South Africa has implemented a 21 day national lockdown effective from Friday 27th March until 16th April 2020.

The Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) has announced the Patent and Trade Mark Office will be closed from 26th March 2020 until 30th April 2020.  Any deadlines falling within this period shall be extended to the next working day, which is 4th May 2020.



Due to the government lockdown in India, the IPO of India will be closed from 25th March 2020 until 14th April 2020.

Any deadlines falling due within that period shall be extended until 14th April 2020

All hearings before the Controller General in the IPO of India are adjourned until further notice.



The Israel Patent Office is not currently suspending deadlines before it. However, requests for discretionary extensions for deadlines falling due or requests for extension for missed deadlines until 1st May 2020 for reasons of coronavirus-related disruption may be considered as potentially ‘reasonable cause’ for delay.


Hong Kong

The IP Department of the Government of Hong Kong is operating special work arrangements in view of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The special work arrangements have been extended until 5th April 2020.

All deadlines falling due within that time are extended to 5th April 2020.  Note that renewal fees paid within that period but after their due date are still subject to late fees.



The intellectual property office of Mexico, the IMPI, suspends it activities due to force majeure during 27th March to 19th April 2020.

It is understood that all deadlines during that period will fall due on the next working day.



INPI has suspended all deadlines falling due between 13th March and 3rd April 2020, with any deadline being extended until 3rd April 2020


No deadline extension has yet been implemented


The Intellectual Property Office of Peru (INDECOPI) is closed from 16th March until 12th April 2020.


If any IP colleagues and associates wish to provide us with further, updated information as to the status of IP deadlines before national offices around Europe and in other territories around the world in view of the coronavirus pandemic, I would be glad to hear from them and to update our information.  Thank you to our associates around the world who have helped us compile this information so far.