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UK IPO announces support for those affected by coronavirus

The UK IPO has announced (link) support for applicants affected by coronavirus, saying that:

"The IPO will take whatever measures we can to support rights applicants and their attorneys who have been affected."

In brief, the UK IPO has indicated that it will use its discretionary powers (on a case-by-case basis) to extend time limits where possible under national and international law.

For example, the law for UK patent applications sets a "compliance period" during which the patent application must be placed in order for acceptance for grant. If the application is not placed in order for grant by the end of the period then it is refused. It is possible to get a single automatic extension to that deadline. However, any further extension is discretionary and can be difficult to obtain. With the support announced by the UK IPO, this kind of discretionary extension should be readily available, subject to the supply of appropriate supporting evidence (e.g. a declaration).

Similarly, where there is a loss of rights due to a missed deadline as a result of coronavirus, it appears that the UK IPO will use its discretionary powers (where possible) to look favourably on applications for restoration of rights.

If you have concerns about a forthcoming deadline or a missed deadline then please get in touch with your usual Wynne-Jones contact.


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