Coronavirus – End of UK Intellectual Property Office interrupted days

22nd June 2020

The UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has confirmed interrupted days will come to an end on 29 July 2020.

End of extensions to deadlines

As we previously reported, following the Coronavirus outbreak, the IPO declared that 24 March 2020, and all subsequent days until further notice, were interrupted days. Meaning that any deadlines and applications for patents, supplementary protection certificates, trade marks and designs, were to be extended until the IPO declared the end of the interrupted days period.

The IPO have now reviewed the situation and today announced that the interrupted days period will come to an end on 29 July 2020. This means that the first normal day of operation, when all interrupted days deadlines that should have expired between 24 March 2020 and 29 July 2020 will now expire, is Thursday 30 July 2020.

The IPO has advised that it is working to put in place measures to ease the burdens on business following the end of the period of interruption, including seeking parliamentary approval of the temporary removal of fees for extension requests. We are awaiting a further update on this and any other support measures the IPO will put in place.

Paper communications

The IPO have advised that customers should continue to use online services and digital communication wherever possible as the IPO is still unable to process paper forms, faxes and paper correspondence. To assist with this the IPO has created a new email address to be used instead of faxing or posting documents and confirmed that it is able to accept electronic signatures on forms and other documents.

In light of the removal of paper communications, there may be a delay in some accepted trade marks being published for purposes of opposition because of the need to notify owners of any UK earlier marks (and international marks with UK designation) identified in search reports, which was previously only done by post. The IPO are exploring alternatives to this.

There will also be a delay in receiving postal versions of trade mark and design registration certificates. The IPO have advised that if you have an urgent business need it can provide email copies on request.

If you would like any further information on this matter or have questions regarding applications for intellectual property rights in light of the Coronavirus outbreak please contact Blake Morgan’s Intellectual Property Team.

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