As my colleague, Charlotte Wilding, previously reported (https://quickreads.kemplittle.com/post/102g60p/euipo-deadlines-extended-to-18-may-2020), the EUIPO originally extended its deadlines to 18 May 2020. This extension has now come to an end and the EUIPO has published full guidance on how to deal with operational difficulties during the pandemic - https://euipo.europa.eu/ohimportal/en/covid-19-information#15_may_1.
The guidance deals with the following important issues in relation to time limits:
- Extension of time limits
This is only applicable to time limits determined by the EUIPO upon request before the expiry of the time limit in proceedings such as:
- Ex parte proceedings – i.e. examination of classification or absolute grounds for refusal.
- Inter parte proceedings – time limits in opposition, invalidity and revocation proceedings.
The first request is granted automatically, but the second or subsequent request requires exceptional circumstances in the case of both ex parte and inter parte proceedings.
It should be noted that any time limits laid down by the Regulations cannot be extended on request.
- Suspension of proceedings
The Suspension of Proceedings can be granted on request of one party or joint request of the parties.
- Continuation of Proceedings
In a case of missed time limit, a continuation of proceedings can be requested without any explanation or justification. However, this option is not available to certain time limits such as filing an opposition and paying the fee, payment of application fee, right of priority, period to remedy filing deficiencies, period for renewal, appeal and appeal before the Courts of Justice.
- Restitution in Integrum – reinstatement of right
This is available when you have missed a time limit to perform a procedural act, despite taking all due case and it the missed deadline has caused your loss of right. This is available upon filing “a request within 2 months of the removal of the cause of non-compliance and no later than one year after expiry of the missed time limit”.
These need to be strictly observed if you are to secure your trade mark or design right. Failure to do so will result in loss of your IP rights.
Please get in touch if you need help with any time limits set out by the EUIPO.
On 18 May 2020, the exceptional extensions granted to users by two decisions of the Executive Director of the EUIPO (Decision No EX-20-3 and Decision No EX-20-4) come to an end.