Last updated: Monday 4th May 2020
On Friday 1 May 2020 the EPO published a further notice to confirm that all periods expiring on or after 15 March 2020 are extended to 2 June 2020. The EPO may further extend this period upon publication of a further notice.
However, do note that this does not apply to all deadlines under the EPC.
Does this extension start right now?
Yes. We have had email confirmation from the EPO that the "publication" is the online publication of the notice on 15 March 2020, i.e. not the subsequent date of publication in the EPO Official Journal.
Does this mean that all deadlines under the EPC are extended?
No. It is important to understand that this does not apply to all deadlines under the EPC. This only applies to periods set under the EPC. For example, for pending patent applications these include periods set under the following provisions:
- Art 94(3) (Examination report)
- Rule 58 (Correction of deficiencies in the application documents)
- Rule70 (Request for examination)
- Rule 70a (Response to the extended European search report)
- Rule 70b (Request for a copy of search results)
- Rule 71(3) (Request to approve the papers for grant and pay grant and printing fees)
Is the deadline for filing a divisional application extended?
No. Rule 36(1) EPC says that "(1) The applicant may file a divisional application relating to any pending earlier European patent application." Therefore, Rule 36(1) EPC sets a condition for filing a divisional application, and not a period for filing the application (see e.g. decision J 0019/10 at Reasons 7). Therefore, you still need to get divisional applications filed before the date of grant of the parent application.
If you need specific assistance with filing a divisional application then please contact us. For example, it is possible to file divisional applications without payment of official fees and without claims - this can be helpful when you do not have final instructions to file the divisional application or where you do not know which invention/claims to pursue.
Is the deadline for payment of renewal fees extended?
Yes. Both the initial deadline for payment of the renewal fee, as well as the six-month grace period, are extended until 2 June 2020. The EPO has also announced that, from 1 June 2020, surcharges payable on renewals in the six-month grace period will be waived until 31 August 2020.
Rule 51 EPC sets the provisions for payment of renewal fees, including the deadline for payment. Although a deadline is set, it is the end of a period (decision J 0004/91 at Reasons 3.2; J 0020/00 at Reasons 5.1). Therefore, it is extended under this notice from the EPO.
Is the deadline for filing Euro(PCT) applications extended?
Yes. The 31 month deadline for filing Euro(PCT) applications is the end of a 31 month period (Rule 159 EPC), and so is extended under this notice from the EPO.
Although most EPO deadlines are extended by this current notice, it does not apply to all deadlines set by the EPO. If you have any questions then please get in touch with your usual Wynne-Jones contact.
Top Cat helps Dibble nab Copy Cats
It’s news that could make Amazon the most tip top Top Cat among toy and game designers, inventors and parents worldwide.
The retailer has announced the establishment of a Counterfeit Crimes Unit that will be tasked with bringing copycats to justice. The Counterfeit Crimes Unit is composed of former federal prosecutors, data analysts and investigators and will be charged with bringing sellers that break not only law, but Amazon’s policies, to justice.
UK Supreme Court judgment: Regeneron v Kymab
On 24 June 2020, the UK Supreme Court handed down its landmark judgment in Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc v Kymab Ltd  UKSC 27 in a dispute that has been rumbling on for seven years. It was good news for Kymab and bad news for Regeneron, which saw two of its patents invalidated. For the rest of us, it’s an important case which includes key rulings on insufficiency.
Coronavirus - UK IPO, EPO and EU IPO extensions and support
A simple overview of the current status from IPOs. Last updated 18th May 2020.
Is it unethical to patent?
The Covid-19 pandemic has prompted many companies to invest time and effort in developing technology that is aimed at helping care for, test, or treat people suffering from the disease. In normal times, these might be considered normal commercial activities and would be considered for patenting without a second thought. However, the fact that these developments are typically not being motivated by pure commercial gain, but by a desire to do something for the public good causes many companies to question whether or not they should seeks patents or any other form of intellectual property protection.