The outbreak has significantly affected worldwide communications, and constitutes an exceptional occurrence, which has disrupted proper communication between parties worldwide and the Office.
As a result, the Executive Director of the EUIPO has today (16 March) signed a decision extending all time limits expiring between 9 March 2020 and 30 April 2020, that affect all parties before the Office, to 1 May 2020.
Detailed Information regarding the extension of time limits:
Ι. TIME LIMITS AFFECTED BY THE EXTENSION
Article 1 of Decision No EX-20-3 of the Executive Director of the Office of 16 March 2020 extends until 01 May (in practice 4 May, since 1st May is a public holiday, followed by a weekend) ‘all time limits expiring between 9 March and 30 April 2020 inclusive that affect all parties in proceedings before the Office’.
Article 101 (4) EUTMR, which empowers the Executive Director to extend deadlines, uses a similar language, by also referring to ‘all time limits’ and ‘all parties to the proceedings’.
The reference to ‘all time limits’ is to be read literally and encompasses all procedural deadlines, irrespective of whether they have been set by the Office or are statutory in nature (i.e. are stipulated directly in the Regulations).
For the sake of clarity, this expression covers:
Time limits set by any instance of the Office, in any proceeding before the EUIPO, including its Boards of Appeal.
Time limits imposed directly by the EUTMR, the EUTMIR or the EUTMDR as well as CDR and CDIR,
- including those originating from the Paris Convention or other International Treaties, and
- regardless of whether they are excluded from restitutio in integrum within the meaning of Article 104 (5) EUTMR and Article 67(5) CDR
In particular, the following statutory time limits are covered by the extension:
- Payment of the Application Fee (Article 32 EUTMR)
- Right of Priority (Article 34(1) EUTMR and Article 41 CDR)
- Exhibition Priority (Article 38(1) EUTMR and Article 44 CDR)
- Opposition Period (Article 46(1) EUTMR)
- Payment of the Opposition Fee (Article 46(3) EUTMR)
- Request for Renewal (Article 53(3) EUTMR and Article 13 CDR)
- Filing of an Appeal and of the Statement of Grounds, payment of the Appeal Fee (Article 68 (1) EUTMR and Article 57 CDR),
- Conversion (Article 139 EUTMR)
- Deferment of publication of design (Article 50 CDR).
However, the reference in the Decision to ‘proceedings before the Office’ means that time limits that relate to proceedings before other authorities are not covered by the extension, even if mentioned in the Regulations.
- This is in particular the case with regard to the time limit for:
- Bringing an action before the General Court against decisions of the Boards of Appeal (Article 72(5) EUTMR and Article 61 CDR).
II. NATURE OF THE EXTENSION
The extension of time limits granted by the Executive Director has the immediate effect of preventing the deadlines concerned from lapsing when they were originally due, and of setting a new expiry date applicable to all, namely the 1st of May 2020 which in practice will be 4thof May 2020.
This effect is automatic and derives directly from the Decision of the Executive Director. Accordingly, affected parties are not required to file a request to the Office for the extension of the time limit to take effect.
Parties to ongoing proceedings are therefore advised not to lodge unnecessary requests for extension. It should be noted, however, that in case the parties are in a position to meet either the original or the extended deadline, and choose to discharge their procedural obligations during that period, the procedure will take its usual course and any documents filed will be examined in the regular manner.
Should you have any doubts, please visit the Help Centre of the EUIPO where you can find further useful information.