COVID-19 – UKIPO reviews and ends period of ‘interrupted days’

United Kingdom

The UKIPO has reviewed the so-called period of ‘interrupted days’ which started on 24 March 2020 and decided that the last ‘interrupted day’ will be 29 July 2020. An ‘interrupted day’ is defined as “a day in which the normal course of business at the IPO is not possible”.

The first day of normal operation on which all deadlines which fell during the interrupted days’ period expire is Thursday, 30 July 2020.

To recap: Most UKIPO deadlines for trade marks, designs, patents and supplementary protection certificates have been suspended since 24 March 2020. The extension of deadlines applies to all time periods relating to trade marks and designs mentioned in the Trade Mark and Registered Designs Rules (e.g. opposition deadlines, deadlines to respond to examiners’ objections, etc.). The extension did not apply to deadlines set by the Trade Mark and Designs Acts (e.g. deadlines for priority claims and the grace period for registered design renewals).

The UKIPO may still provide further extensions to deadlines where the rules permit, but these will need to be applied for in the usual way and in most cases, proper reasons will be required. It is also seeking a legislative change to enable it waive fees for certain extension requests and further updates are expected.

The updated guidance can be found here.

Please be aware that the UKIPO is warning that it is still unable to issue renewal reminder letters – these will be issued once the UKIPO re-opens. Rights holders are advised to manage renewals pro-actively.