COVID 19 - Extension of deadlines before the Benelux and the European Union intellectual property offices
Posted - 20.04.2020
Due to the restrictions caused by Covid-19, the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (the “BOIP”) and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (the “EUIPO”) have decided to extend the deadlines in connection with procedures and requests taking place before them. Please note that the BOIP and the EUIPO may take additional decisions and our article might not reflect these latest developments at the time of reading. Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any question regarding your trademarks and designs.
For Benelux trademarks and designs:
On 20 March 2020, the BOIP decided that it would not withdraw any requests or procedures if a deadline is not met between 16 March 2020 and a date (determined by the BOIP in due course) on which it can be considered that people and businesses can properly work again in the Benelux (the “BAU Date”). For example, deadlines for the payment of fees or initiating opposition proceedings against trademark applications are affected by this decision. An additional period of one month as from the BAU Date will be granted for all requests and procedures for which deadlines have expired between 16 March 2020 and the BAU Date or for which deadlines are less than one month on the BAU Date.
Be aware that, given these extensions, the relevant registers may not reflect the accurate status of certain trademarks or designs.
Please note that the question of whether an appeal was lodged in time before the Benelux Court of Justice (competent in case of appeal against a final decision of the BOIP) is the competence of the Benelux Court of Justice itself. Currently, the Benelux Court of Justice has not announced any extension of the deadlines in relation to the procedures initiated before it.
For more information on the extension of deadlines before the BOIP, please check the BOIP communication accessible via the following link : BOIP Communication - 20 March 2020.
For European Union trademarks and designs:
The EUIPO has extended, until 1 May 2020, all deadlines expiring between 9 March 2020 and 30 April 2020 inclusive that affect all parties in proceedings before the EUIPO. Since 1 May 2020 is a public holiday and a Friday, time limits are in practice extended until 4 May 2020.
Update: On 29 April 2020, the EUIPO further extended until 18 May 2020 all deadlines expiring between 1 May 2020 and 17 May 2020. Given the EUIPO’s previous decision, this means that all deadlines expiring between 9 March 2020 and 17 May 2020 inclusive are extended until 18 May 2020.
This extension is automatic and applies to all procedural deadlines before the EUIPO (such as the payment of application or opposition fees, the right of priority, the opposition period or the request for renewing trademarks or designs).
Please note that this extension does not apply to actions brought before the General Court of the European Union against decisions of the Boards of Appeal of the EUIPO. Please note also that the General Court has indicated that deadlines for instituting proceedings before it shall continue to run but affords the parties the possibility of invoking the existence of unforeseeable circumstances or a force majeure event if they cannot meet such deadlines.
For more information on the extension of deadlines before the EUIPO, please check the guidance on the decisions of the executive director of the EUIPO via the following link: Updated Guidance - EUIPO Decisions).
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