26 June, 2020
In line with the government's lockdown measures, on 24 March 2020 the UK Intellectual Property Office ("UKIPO") closed its offices, declaring that until otherwise notified, "interruption days" would apply to all of its day-to-day functions. This has seen ongoing trade mark, patent and designs applications and opposition proceedings effectively put on hold, on the basis that the UKIPO has been unable to deal with paper filings on behalf of parties.
The UKIPO has reviewed and extended the interruption days on several occasions, most recently on 22 June 2020, subsequently announcing that the interruption days will be coming to an end on 29 July 2020 (this follows similar steps that were taken by the European Union Intellectual Property Office in May). Importantly for rights holders and interested third parties, this means that all deadlines that have been extended by the interruption days (such as those relating to oppositions, witness evidence and submissions) will now expire on Thursday 30 July 2020.
This is a welcomed development; however, we anticipate that - owing to the backlog of ongoing matters that will otherwise have been in abeyance - once the interruption days have come to an end, parties will still experience some delays in progressing ongoing matters. Therefore, in the meantime, it is advisable that parties take a proactive approach to their filing obligations, as the UKIPO is still operating under "business as usual" where possible.
Our Commercial team are on hand to support if you have any queries regarding protecting your intellectual property throughout the UK and EU during the interruption days and thereafter.
For more information contact Daniel Fletcher in our Commercial department via email or phone on 0333 207 1145. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.