As the COVID-19 situation continues, despite signs that its spread is starting to be controlled, the EPO has decided to further extend most deadlines.
The EPO has announced that most periods expiring on or after 15 March 2020 are further extended for all parties and their representatives to 2 June 2020. This applies also for international applications under the PCT. The extension period may be extended again by the publication of another notice in case the current situation extends beyond the aforementioned date. Please note that certain types of deadline are not extended, including those for final submissions before oral proceedings and for filing divisional applications. If you think that you will have trouble meeting a current deadline due to COVID-19 then do get in touch about it. The recent changes may provide a useful backup on a case by case basis should it be necessary. In the interest of efficiency we will still, in general, be working towards the unextended due dates.
Board of Appeal - Oral Proceedings
In addition, the EPO has now announced that oral proceedings will not be held in the premises of the Boards of Appeal until 15 May 2020. Concerned parties will be contacted accordingly with a communication.
Examining Division and Opposition Division - Oral Proceedings
Oral proceedings up to 30 April 2020 have been postponed. A pilot scheme for videoconference oral proceedings before opposition divisions is also underway.
Message of Support from EPO and USPTO
A message of support to inventors and innovators around the world has been given by the presidents of, and on behalf of, the EPO and USPTO.
The two offices have stated that they “stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the innovation community…. offering assistance through time extensions and fee deadlines, as well as flexibility on hearings…”
Full details of all these updates can be seen on the EPO website.