During the lockdown period, the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) extended official deadlines to allow extra time for action to be taken in connection with trade mark and other Intellectual Property matters. Most IP Practitioners and their clients have been working from home for some considerable time now, and it has at times proved challenging to obtain instructions or information to respond on official deadlines in good time. This essentially meant that most deadlines were extended for a period of weeks, known as “interrupted days”. This was started on 24th March, and ended on 29th July 2020.
The UKIPO has just announced that the so-called “interrupted days” have now ceased, which means that any deadlines now set for response to the UKIPO will run as they normally would, and should be adhered to. The interrupted days ceased on 29th July. Therefore any deadlines set from 30th July onwards should stand as they are set.
At the same time, there are a number of temporary fee changes, in some cases much reduced, to help in these challenging times. By way of example:
Fees for extensions of time (where applicable) will be zero.
There will be no surcharge for payment of a patent application fee after the date of filing.
Fees to apply for reinstatement and restoration will be zero.
For Patents and Designs, there will be no surcharge for payment of a renewal fee late.
For trade marks, the surcharge for payment of a renewal fee late will be just £1.00.
There has also been a considerable delay in some procedures handled by the UKIPO, and they have indicated that they are now working hard to reduce the backlog. For example, patent renewal letters will be issued by e-mail (if requested) or by post if not. In addition, there has been a large backlog in issuing Trade Mark Registration Certificates, but this is now being addressed.
Note however that the UKIPO staff are themselves still mainly working from home. Because of this, their fax machine has been switched off. Note also that any payments are currently unacceptable if made by cheque.
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