Coronavirus struck a mighty blow on all aspects of human life. It did not spare IP practitioners and government authorities from its malicious impact. A short spell of bewilderment was followed by the search for solutions. Life should go on. Patent and trademark attorneys organized themselves and switched to distant work. It is relatively easy for them however what about the bodies they are obliged to communicate with?
Russian Patent Office
Time ago and without connection with any force majeure the patent office arranged for electronic filing of patent and trademark applications which convenience is actively used by some patent attorneys. At the same time, operation of many IP owners may be paralyzed for indefinite time and they may not be able to give orders for completing actions required by deadlines. Besides, patent attorneys are restricted from leaving their homes and some of them may not have access to the patent office's electronic facilities.
In this connection the patent office issued guidelines for extension of certain terms. It acknowledges that there is a risk that the applicants may delay their communication with the patent office in connection with protection of their IP. In some cases the delays may entail the loss of IP rights.
At first the lockdown was announced for one week but later, as it became clear that the situation became more serious the lockdown was extended to April 30.
The patent office explained that if a deadline for performing an action, also in case of payment of government fees, falls on the dates above, it will be extended to the next working day. As for now, the first working day with consideration for national holidays in the beginning of May will be May 6.
Given that some terms are fixed in the federal laws and enactments of the government the patent office will take steps to arrange for legitimization of the possibility to further prolong the terms if it becomes necessary.
The patent office specifically points out that it continues to operate. The Chamber of Patent Disputes also continues examination of cases using videoconferences so that in this respect there is no interruption either.
The patent office received recommendations from WIPO's International Bureau regarding PCT applications and will abide by those recommendations. Also, the patent office will not charge applicants for late payments.
Eurasian Patent Office
The Eurasian Patent Office also announced that it continues operation the bulk of the work being done distantly. It informs the applicants that since the Eurasian Patent Office is located in the Russian Federation which announced non-working days until April 30 the Eurasian Patent Office also extends the deadlines that fall on the days until April 30 until the first working day in Russia which will be May 6. This rule will be applicable to the payment of fees, terms for transferring patent application into regional stage, filing requests for substantive examination, etc. The Eurasian Patent Office strongly recommends to file applications and other documents online.
The IP court sides with other IP related bodies. It suspended examination of cases until April 30. New dates of examination will be published when it becomes possible. Only those cases will be examined before April 30 where presence of the parties is not required.
Electronic filing of documents is encouraged.
As can be seen, the deadline for the lockdown is April 30 for all people, companies and government bodies. Nevertheless, this date may be shifted to a later date depending on the development of the spread of the disease.
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