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UPDATE - UK IPO support for those affected by Coronavirus


The UKIPO has now certified that a ‘period of interruption’ began on Tuesday 24 March 2020. The UK IPO has confirmed that the period of interruption will come to an end on 29 July 2020. This will mean that the first normal day of operation when all interrupted days deadlines expire will be Thursday 30 July 2020. General guidance from the UK IPO can be found here.

How does this affect me?

As stated by the UK IPO, "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."

This means that all time periods set out in United Kingdom legislation for trade marks, patents and designs which would have fallen on or after 24 March 2020 will be automatically extended until the day after the period of interruption ends.

Does this extend the deadline for filing UK applications claiming priority?

Yes. UK law sets deadlines for filing UK trade mark, patent and design applications claiming priority from an earlier relevant application. Therefore, this "period of interruption" extends that deadline.

Does this extend the period for placing my patent application in order for grant (the "compliance period")?

Yes.  The "period of interruption" will extend the compliance period. However, as detailed below, we would strongly recommend continuing with prosecution of patent applications during the period of interruption in order to avoid possible problems and delays at the end of the period.

Should I just wait for the end of the "period of interruption" before doing anything further on my application?

No. The UK IPO is still open and is operating on a "business as usual" basis as far as possible - the period of interruption is intended as more of a "safety net" than anything else. Nevertheless, the UKIPO has reiterated that, should additional time be needed, they “will extend time periods where national and international legislation allows”. For more information regarding this, see our 12 March 2020 website article here.

If you require specific assistance on a case or have any queries then please get in touch with your usual Wynne-Jones IP contact.  


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