Since the early days of lockdown the IPO has been in a period of interrupted days due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

An "interrupted day" is a day in which the normal course of business at the IPO is not possible.

This has meant that since the first interrupted day on the 24 March 2020, most deadlines for

  • patents,
  • supplementary protection certificates,
  • trade marks,
  • designs,

and applications for these rights, which fell on an interrupted day have been extended to the next non-interrupted day.

More than 3 months, and several extensions later, the IPO has finally felt able to announce that the period of interrupted days will come to an end on 29 July 2020.

This means that any relevant deadline that has fallen between 24 March 2020 and 29 July 2020 has now been extended to 30 July 2020.

The IPO has acknowledged in its announcement that many business are still under immense pressure. It has therefore sought to reassure rights holders and applicants that it is putting measures in place that will ease burdens on business following the end of the period of interruption.

Interestingly, the IPO has announced that this includes the removal of fees for requests of extensions of time from 30 July 2020 to 31 March 2021. It has also removed the surcharge for late payment of the patent application fee and removed or substantially reduced (to £1) the surcharges that are usually payable when an IP rights owner is late in paying the fee to keep their IP right in force.

Further updates on other measures the IPO is taking will be given as soon as possible.