The UK IPO has issued a formal notice of an “interruption to its normal operation” due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 24th March 2020 and every subsequent day until further notice has been declared an “interrupted day”. This means that any UKIPO deadlines concerning:

  • Patents;
  • supplementary protection certificates;
  • trade marks;
  • designs; and
  • applications for these rights

which falls on an interrupted day will be extended to the next "non-interrupted day".

The UK IPO has promised that it will give at least two weeks’ notice that the interrupted days period is coming to an end, and will review the situation on 17 April. This means that there is a de facto extension for all deadlines on or after 24 March, until Monday 4 May (the first Monday in May not being a bank holiday, this having been moved to Friday 8 May for VE Day commemorations).

Rightsholders, applicants and opponents can now breathe a sigh of relief that the UKIPO has followed the EUIPO and EPO (as reported in our recent article) in extending deadlines.  What remains to be seen, however, is the extent to which they may need to be extended again.