(Updated 3rd July 2020)
Following its regular review since 24th March of this year the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) has now brought an end to the application of automatic extensions to all deadlines that had fallen on “interrupted” days. The system of interrupted days has been in direct response to the Coronavirus and its impact on businesses addressing matters before the UKIPO.
Consequently, it has been announced that the sequence of interrupted days will cease as from 29th July 2020. What this means is that all deadlines extended as a result of the Coronavirus crisis (and previously falling on an interrupted day) will therefore become due on or before 30 July 2020.
We have noticed there continue to be delays at the UKIPO with regard to administrative processes such as the examination of trade mark applications and the issuance of official registration certificates. These delays are likely to continue as UKIPO working practices have altered radically since lockdown was imposed in the UK back in March and adjustment is slowly made towards the “new” normal, as indeed the same for many businesses and organisations. However, all previously due deadlines relating to patents, trade marks, supplementary protection certificates and registered designs will now have to be adhered to by 30th July 2020 and there will be no further automatic extension.
We understand the UKIPO is in discussion with the UK government in an attempt to head off additional financial burden on businesses that is likely to take effect as we move towards 30th July 2020. A major aspect of this discussion is looking at Parliamentary approval for allowing the temporary removal of fees for extensions of time.
We will update further again in due course. In the meantime official government guidance can be read here.