31 March, 2020
Following the decision of the government to place the majority of the working population into lockdown, ordering that all non-essential employees work from home, the UK Intellectual Property Office ("UKIPO") has followed suit, and has closed its Cardiff Headquarters.
Owing to the disruption that the Covid-19 outbreak has caused - and will continue to cause - businesses, the UKIPO has declared 24 March 2020 and subsequent days until otherwise notified, as "interrupted days". Any UKIPO deadlines for trade marks, designs, supplementary protection certificates and patents, including applications for such rights, which fall on an interrupted day, will be extended until the UKIPO declares the end of the interrupted period.
Currently, the UKIPO is scheduled to review this decision on 17 April 2020, although it has advised that at least 2 weeks' notice will be provided before ending the interrupted days. Practically speaking, it will be 01 May 2020 at the earliest that this period of disruption for the UKIPO comes to an end; however, it has encouraged existing applicants/representatives to work to existing deadlines where possible, outlining that this extension is a "safety net".
The UKIPO has followed the steps taken by the European Union Intellectual Property Office ("EUIPO") in mid-March, which itself ordered its employees to work from home, extending all deadlines until 01 May 2020 (due to bank holidays, this practically falls on 04 May 2020).
During this undoubtedly difficult time, both the UKIPO and EUIPO have advised that, to the extent possible, it is "business as usual" and that applications can still be made, examined and published.
Our Commercial team are on hand to support if you have any queries regarding protecting your intellectual property throughout the UK and EU.
For more information contact John Pickervance in our Commercial department via email or phone on 0333 207 1134. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.