COVID-19: ABG IP working with normality. Updated Information on Intellectual Property Offices

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This post is also available in: Spanish Catalan

LAST UPDATE: 12/05/2020 11:11 (GMT +2)

Dear user,

The pandemic of the new coronavirus has forced exceptional decisions. The state of alarm declared by the Spanish government came into force on 16th March. Several Intellectual Property offices have also adopted special measures related to deadlines and procedures. However, electronic filling services, which are those we regularly use, are available and working with complete normality.

At ABG Intellectual Property we are working from home through secure and stable VPNs and we continue to file documents with the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office (SPTO), the European Patent Office (EPO) and the European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), obtaining the corresponding filing receipts.  Our Legal and Litigation department also continues to provide its services as usual. Our entire team is fully operational and available. You can contact them at their e-mails and phone numbers.

Therefore, as far as you are able to do it, our strong recommendation is that you comply with the standard deadlines so we can file your applications, pay renewals and  respond any pending actions as usual to avoid any uncertainty and keep you files and applications in good order.

However, after the approval of the new measures by the Spanish government on 29 March (Royal Decree Law 10/2020), please, avoid send original documents to our offices by post or courier shipments. You can send the documents scanned to the usual email addresses instead.

If you are in a situation where you cannot give us instructions or provide us with documents in time to meet a deadline, please contact us so we can advise you and make use of the special measures implemented by patent and trademark offices and the courts of justice. Our entire team is fully operational and available. You can contact them at their e-mails and phone numbers.

From our side, we will be monitoring the situation closely and provide relevant information, periodically updated here (below) and in our social networks.

Finally, we want to share with you our hope. At ABG Intellectual Property we are confident that, working together, we will be able to overcome this situation and its consequences. It is important that we help those in need in our community in these difficult times, acting responsibly and with solidarity.

Yours faithfully,

ABG Intellectual Property

Announcements from Intellectual Property Offices

Spanish Patent and Trademark Office (SPTO)

On 14 March 2020, Royal Decree 463/2020 declaring state of alarm entered into force in Spain. Consequently, the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office (SPTO) reported on 16 March 2020 (read the announcement in Spanish) that, as a general rule, its administrative procedures are suspended. When the state of alarm ceases to apply, the time periods will run again. Thus:

– Time periods that were already “alive” before the entry into force of the Royal Decree are interrupted. They will continue running when the Royal Decree (or extensions thereof) losses effect.

– Time periods that are “born” during the state of alarm shall begin to run from the first working day when the Royal Decree (or extensions thereof) losses effect.

– Time limits for administrative appeals shall be calculated from the working day following the date on which the state of alarm ceases to apply, irrespective of the time that has elapsed since the notification of the administrative action which is the subject of the appeal before the declaration of the state of alarm.

Telephone and electronic customer services available.

Exception to the general rule

The RD 463/2020 permits that those procedures in progress or those initiated during this period will be processed, provided that the person concerned in the procedure expresses its consent. To clarify this exception to the general rule of Suspension of Administrative Deadlines, the Director of SPTO issued on 25 March 2020 a Resolution on the Continuity of Administrative Procedures of acts 17/2001 on trademarks, 20/2003 on Industrial Design Legal Protection and 24/2015 on patents (text here). The Resolution of 25 March 2020:

– publishes a list of procedures that the SPTO will process within the corresponding procedures of trademarks, industrial designs and patents, provided that the interested party gives his consent;

– clarifies that the SPTO understand the consent as given when the interested parties submit a reply or carry out the corresponding procedure, either within the legal period authorised for that purpose or at a later time.

– remembers that, in any event, the interested parties may benefit from the general rule of suspension of time limits and wait for resuming them in order to comply with those procedures within the legally established deadlines.

European Patent Office (EPO)

The European Patent Office (EPO) has announced that periods expiring on or after 15 March 2020 are extended for all parties and their representatives to 2 June 2020.

Electronic customer services available.

Read the announcement – Official Extended & Updated Information

European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO)

The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) has extended all time limits expiring between 9 March 2020 and 30 April to 1 May 2020, that affect all parties before the Office, to 4 May 2020. In a second announcement, the Executive Director of the EUIPO has extended until 18 May 2020 all time limits expiring between 1 May 2020 and 17 May 2020.

Electronic customer services available.

Read 2nd announcement (extension to 18 May) – Read 1st announcement (for periods expiring between 15 March and 1 May) – Expanded & Updated EUIPO Information

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

The WIPO has reported that the International Bureau as receiving Office remain open for the purposes of filing and processing PCT applications.

Read the announcement

Community Plan Variety Office (CPVO)

The CPVO has taken the decision to extend deadlines that fall in the period 17 March – 3 May included, until 4 May 2020 for parties to proceedings before the CPVO and the Board of Appeal. The extension applies to all deadlines except for the submission of material for technical examinations and the payment of examination fees.

The CPVO has taken the decision to extend to three months the time limit of one month from the date of which the CPVO serves a new request for payment of technical examination fees and annual fees. This decision applies to outstanding debit notes with a due date for payment until 21 September 2020, included.

Read announcement regarding the extensionof time limits for the payment of feesRead the announcement (extensions until 4 May 2020)

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact:

Customer relations: Tania Ashurka

Managing Partners: Francisco Bernardo and Juan Arias

ABG is a leading European IP firm. ABG’s more than 60 professionals combine experience, outstanding technical knowledge and deep legal expertise to be at the forefront of IP law.
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