Date published: 17 March 2020

Further to the communication issued by Christian Archambeau (Executive Director of the EUIPO) earlier in the month (2 March) postponing all events and meetings involving a high number of external stakeholders during the month of March and the participation of the EUIPO in events and activities outside the EUIPO premises, a further communication has now been issued (13 March) confirming that events in April will be similarly postponed. 

A further communication was issued yesterday (16 March) providing the welcome news that as a result of the Spanish Government activating a “state of alarm” that all time limits in EUTM and RCD procedures affecting users expiring between 9 March 2020 and 30 April will be extended until 1 May 2020.  CIPA welcomes the clarity that this gives to our members in these unprecedented times.

Date published: 16 March 2020

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, CIPA has been working with the European Patent Office on the need to attend oral proceedings in person and on increasing its use of video conferencing. 

The EPO has currently postponed oral proceedings before the Boards of Appeal between today (16 March) and 27 March. But oral proceedings before examining and opposition divisions will in principle take place as scheduled. 

CIPA President Richard Mair wrote to EPO President, António Campinos, and President of the Boards of Appeal, Carl Josefsson, on 10 March. In the letter Richard said: 

“It is becoming increasingly difficult for members to guarantee that they are able to attend Oral Proceedings in person because of personal health reasons, company travel policies or potentially national policy. At present we are aware that in some instances the EPO is permitting Oral Proceedings to be postponed but we would urge that this become available as of right in this strained time.”

President Campinos replied, on 13 March, thanking CIPA for its suggestions. He said the EPO was committed to protecting the health of users and was doing everything feasible to avoid the need for a party or representative to travel to oral proceedings before the EPO. President Campinos said:

“In line with your suggestion, already last week the EPO exceptionally extended the possibility to conduct oral proceedings by video conference to opposition proceedings. Last Friday we informed users about this option and the need to file specific requests in individual cases. 

“In view of these alternatives to regular oral proceedings offered by the EPO, it presently does not appear requisite to postpone oral proceedings in each and every case as a right.”

Read the EPO’s continually updated webpage on its response to Coronavirus (COVID-19)