On 29 April 2020, the EUIPO announced its second decision to further extend deadlines and time limits amid the ongoing uncertainty posed by Covid-19.
This follows the EUIPO’s first decision, published on 16 March, extending deadlines falling between 9 March and 30 April to 1 May 2020.
This second decision now extends all time limits expiring between 1 May – 17 May (inclusive) to 18 May 2020, effectively extending all deadlines falling between 9 March – 17 May to 18 May 2020.
The decision states that to the extent that the Covid-19 outbreak continues to constitute an exceptional occurrence, which has disrupted proper communication between the parties worldwide and the Office, the Office will implement its powers to extend time limits.
The extension of time covers all procedural deadlines and are applied automatically by the Office.
What does this mean?
This decision applies to all time limits expiring between 1 May and 17 May inclusive that affect all parties in proceedings before the Office. Reference to ‘all time limits’ encompasses all procedural deadlines and for completeness covers the following:
- Time limits set by the Office in any proceedings before the EUIPO including its Boards of Appeal.
- Time limits imposed by the EU Trade Mark Regulation (EUTMR) and the EU Trade Mark Implementing Regulation (EUTMIR), which include those originating from the Paris Convention (or other International Treaties).
- The following statutory time limits are covered by the extension:
- Payment of the Application Fees
- Right of Priority
- Exhibition Priority
- Opposition Period
- Payment of the Opposition Fee
- Request for Renewal
- Filing of an Appeal and of the Statement of Grounds, payment of the Appeal Fee
The extension of time granted has the automatic and immediate effect of preventing the deadlines affected from lapsing and setting a new expiry date of the 18 May 2020.
Parties affected are not required to undertake any action for the time limit extension to take effect and are advised not to lodge unnecessary extension of time requests.
Are there exceptions?
Yes, reference to ‘proceedings before the Office’ means that time limits relating to proceedings before other authorities are not covered by the extension. Therefore, actions bought before the General Court against decisions of the Boards of Appeal are not covered by this extension.
Moreover, if a party chooses to discharge their procedural obligation before the expiry of the extended time limit, for example, by submitting observations, evidence, documents or any other procedural act, the extended time limited will be rendered exhausted and the proceedings will continue without waiting for the expiration of the extended time limit.
Take Away Points
To the extent that this time extension applies to particular proceedings, irrespective of the nature of those proceedings, the extension will be implemented automatically and no action is required by an affected party.
Requests for time extensions should be reviewed prior to lodging to ensure that they are necessary.
The actioning of deadlines falling within the scope of proceedings as outlined by the Office before 18 May 2020, will result in those proceedings continuing without awaiting the expiry of the extended time limit.
Parties currently involved in applicable ex-parte or inter-parte proceedings before the Office, have complete discretion in deciding whether to utilise this extra time or to continue with proceedings.
Files will not be kept on hold by the Office pending the expiry of the time extension where a response to a particular matter is filed. In the case of ex-parte proceedings, the Office will proceed to re-assess the eligibility of the application for registration based on evidence filed. Similarly, in inter-parte proceedings, submission of observations will result in the next deadline being generated or closure of proceedings ready for a decision on the papers.
There are numerous factors to take into account when deciding whether to utilise the additional time provided by the Office, including your ability to access to particular information and resources and whether cash flow has been diverted to other commercial aspect of your business.
At Murgitroyd we are here to support you in whichever way you decide to proceed, so please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions regarding this update or how it may affect you.
For more information, please contact Rachel Pellatt:
T: +44 (0) 23 8000 2022