Starting in March 2020, Rospatent implemented Covid-19 pandemic containment measures in line with the high-alert regime adopted by the authorities. In particular, new rules were established for handling communication with applicants during the obligatory self-isolation period, such as a ban on accepting paper-based applications and other measures restricting direct communication.

On 28 April 2020, the Head of Rospatent, Grigory Ivliev, held an online press briefing to discuss the work of Rospatent in the new reality.

Mr Ivliev informed the press that despite the non-working period declared by the Russian President starting from 30 March 2020, Rospatent continues to operate and provide services online. Currently, the majority of examiners are working remotely. This includes conducting searches and performing fully-fledged examinations without slowing down the usual pace of work.

Earlier, in addition to existing electronic services, Rospatent introduced the option of filing new applications by email, deemed equivalent to filing applications on paper.

The Chamber for Patent Disputes also continues to conduct hearings on administrative proceedings by video conference.

Mr Ivliev also talked about the future digitalisation of Rospatent's services and how traditional ways of communication will change after the coronavirus crisis is over. For instance, new digital platforms have been developed and will already be implemented by Rospatent in 2020-2021, including the blockchain-based unified register of intellectual property rights, allowing their direct acquisition and licensing.

Finally, Mr Ivliev confirmed that all deadlines for filing documents and paying official fees that fall within the period of the high-alert regime and the non-working period will be extended. Rospatent, together with the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia, is also considering the option of amending the legislation to extend the deadlines, including those related to the payment of patent and other fees, until 11 January 2021.

Originally published Noerr, May 2020

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