Coronavirus Update: COVID-19 Impact on the EUIPO as of 16th March 2020

COVID-19

18 Mar 2020

The European Intellectual Property Office (“EUIPO”) has announced special measures in place as a result of the situation caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Given that the EUIPO is located in Alicante, Spain, the announcement has been published as a consequence of Royal Decree 463/2020 issued by the Spanish Government on 14th March 2020, which declared a “state of alarm” that will be in effect for at least 15 days starting from 14th March 2020. The Royal Decree 463/2020 has set out strict limitations of movement, among other measures.

In line with the measures issued by the Spanish Government, all EUIPO staff have been authorized by the Executive Director of the EUIPO to work from home while the EUIPO offices shall be closed with all events scheduled at the EUIPO office postponed. To this extent, the EUIPO has noted that measures have been undertaken to ensure user services continue uninterrupted “as far as possible under the circumstances”.

As such all trademark as well as community design applications may be submitted and shall be received examined and published following the usual procedures. The EUIPO support through the Information Centre of the EUIPO as well as the Second Line are operating as usual through phone and email communication.

The Spanish Government’s decree has prompted a decision to be adopted by the Executive Director of the EUIPO (the “Decision”) published on 16th March 2020.

The Decision sets out that all time limits which are expiring between 9th March 2020 and 30th April 2020 inclusive, affecting all parties in any proceeding before the EUIPO, are now extended until 1st May 2020. The Executive Director of the EUIPO based such a decision on the following cumulative reasons:

  • The powers vested in the Executive Director by Article 101(4) of Regulation (EU) 2017/1001 (The “EUTMR”) and Article 58(4) Commission Regulation (EC) No 2245/2002 (The “CDIR”).
  • Worldwide disrupted communications caused by extent and status of the outbreak.
  • Characterizing the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic by the Director-General of the World Health Organization.

We believe the approach taken by the EUIPO will allow it to continue its work in as uninterrupted a manner as possible in the current situation we are facing. Given the significantly affected lines of communications in different parts of the world and the possible detrimental impact of defaulting deadlines, such measures are a positive step towards ensuring that each and every party is granted a state of equality in status rights and opportunities by the EUIPO in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.

If you think these measures might affect your business, please get in touch with your usual WH Partners contact, or reach out to contact@whpartners.eu.

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The information above does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice and should not be relied on as such. For any specific matters, please reach out to your usual WH Partners contact or write to us on contact@whpartners.eu.