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EUIPO issues clarification on COVID-19 extension of time for trade mark and design proceedings

01 April 2020. Published by Alessandro Cerri, Associate and Ben Mark, Partner

The EUIPO has issued a clarification in respect of Decision No EX-20-3 noting that the extension of deadlines in trade mark and design EUIPO proceedings to 1 May 2020 applies automatically.

Background

On 16 March 2020 the Executive Director of the EU Intellectual Property Office (the EUIPO) issued Decision No EX-20-3 which stated, essentially, that in light of the recent outbreak of COVID-19 having disrupted global communications: "all time limits expiring between 9 March 2020 and 30 April 2020 inclusive that affect all parties in proceedings before the [EUIPO] are extended until 1 May 2020."

Update

The EUIPO has now issued a further clarification in respect of Decision No EX-20-3, making the following key points:

  • The reference to ‘all time limits’ is to be read literally and encompasses all procedural deadlines in proceedings before the EUIPO, irrespective of whether they have been set by the EUIPO or are statutory in nature (i.e. stipulated in the EU Trade Mark Regulation and/or the Community Designs Regulation (together, the Regulations)).
  • Time limits which relate to proceedings before other authorities are not extended by Decision No EX-20-3, even if such time limits are mentioned in the Regulations.
  • The extension only applies to EUIPO proceedings which relate to trade mark and design matters, and so any EUIPO proceedings to which the Regulations do not apply or which relate to other matters (e.g. EUIPO governance) are not covered by Decision No EX-20-3.
  • The effect of the extension is automatic, and parties do not therefore need to file a request. All deadlines which would have lapsed during the relevant period will not lapse on 1 May 2020 (in practice 4 May 2020).
  • As the effect of the extension is automatic, parties subject to relevant time limits will not be informed individually about their deadline being extended.  

Comment

This helpful clarification will hopefully provide assurance to any parties to EUIPO trade mark or design proceedings affected by COVID-19, that they do not need to take any further steps (which may be particularly difficult in this period) in order to secure an extension of time until 1 May 2020 (in practice 4 May 2020). 

A copy of Decision EX-20-3 in English is here.

The clarification is found here.